How Do You Get Chlamydia?

Find Out How Chlamydia Spreads, and How to Stay Safe

Chlamydia is one of the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases. It is caused by bacteria, which are easily transmitted during sex. Find out whether you’re at risk and how to protect yourself.

How Can You Catch Chlamydia?

Chlamydia can be caught during:

  • Unprotected vaginal sex
  • Unprotected oral sex
  • Unprotected anal sex
  • Sharing sex toys
  • Contact with the genitals of an infected partner

The best way to protect yourself is to wear a condom every time you have sex with a partner who might have it. Before you have unprotected sex, you and your partner should get tested for chlamydia.

Which Activities Are Safe?

There is no risk of catching chlamydia from:

  • Kissing
  • Hugging
  • Sharing a bath
  • Sharing a towel
  • Using shared or public toilet seats
  • Using a public swimming pool

Can You be Born With Chlamydia?

Women who are infected with chlamydia during pregnancy risk passing the infection on to their baby during childbirth. Chlamydia can cause conjunctivitis (eye chlamydia) as well as more serious conditions, such as pneumonia in babies. The NHS offers free chlamydia screening for pregnant women to prevent that the infection goes untreated.

Can You Catch Chlamydia Without Having Sex?

Apart from being infected at birth you can not catch chlamydia without performing some form of sexual act. However, you don’t have to have penetrative sex to get infected, it is enough if your genitals come in contact with an infected person’s sexual fluids (for example if your genitals touch). You can also catch it when sharing sex toys. You can easily prevent this by cleaning them or covering them with a condom.

Is it Possible to Catch Chlamydia From Oral or Anal Sex?

Yes. Having unprotected oral or anal sex with an infected partner can cause infection in the throat or anus. If you had oral or anal sex, you need to get tested using an oral swab or rectal swab. The standard treatment for anal and oral infections is the antibiotic azithromycin.

Can You Get Chlamydia More Than Once?

Even if you have had chlamydia in the past you can catch it again. You can’t get immune to chlamydia bacteria, so it is important that you use a condom every time you have unprotected sex with a partner who could have it.

It is not uncommon for patients to get re-infected and it is particularly important that your partner gets tested and treated as well, otherwise they might pass the infection back to you. Make sure you tell your previous partners if you have been diagnosed with chlamydia, so they can get tested, too. Your GUM clinic or online doctor can contact your partners on your behalf without disclosing your name to them.

How Can I Get Tested?

If you have had unprotected sex, you should take a chlamydia test. You can either see your doctor and get tested at a local surgery or GUM clinic or you can order a test kit online.

If you have had vaginal sex, you need to use a urine test (for men) or a swab test (for women) to find out whether you have been infected.

Since chlamydia can also be contracted during oral or anal sex you may also need to consider a rectal or an oral swab test.

It is recommended that anyone who is sexually active gets tested for STIs once a year. This is very important if you have sex with changing partners.

Patient Reviews