Does the NHS provide testing too?
Yes – you can get the chlamydia test on the NHS. You can get tested whether or not you have symptoms.
You can get tested at either one of the following and should choose the one you are most comfortable with:
- A genitourinary clinic (GUM)
- Most contraceptive or young people’s clinic
- Abortion, antenatal or gynaecology services may also offer women a chlamydia test
- Local councils also pay for free testing in men and women under the age of 25 in their area, as part of the NCSP – they may also locally advertise outreach testing in places such as colleges, youth clubs or military bases
How soon after sex do I need to get the test? – you can get tested straight away, but you may be advised to have another test after two weeks, as chlamydia is more difficult to detect in the early stage.
Can I do the test myself? – yes, you don’t necessarily need to be examined by a healthcare professional and you can usually collect the sample yourself.
Home testing – if you don’t want to visit your GP or a clinic, you can order a free NHS home self-testing kit. This is available online in certain areas from www.nhs.uk. This may be quicker and easier.
What does the test involve? – a urine or swab sample is needed. The swab is similar to a cotton bud but it is smaller and rounder. The swab is wiped over parts of your body that could be infected and it easily picks up a sample of cells or discharge.
Are the types of sample different for men or women? – yes, men will usually be asked to provide a urine sample and women can provide either a swab or urine sample. Swab samples are recommended for women as they are more accurate.
Is the test difficult or painful? – no, the test is simple and painless but you may feel slight discomfort when you swab the area.
Do I need other tests? – if you have chlamydia then you will be encouraged to get tests for other STI’s, as it’s common to have more than one STI at a time.