Getting lucky If you are in your teens and sexually active, you may have already come very, very close to someone with a sexually transmitted infection. Chlamydia is the most common STI in the world and one in ten sexually active young people have it. Most of them wonâ€™t have any symptoms, so if youâ€™ve trusted your luck when having sex - perhaps by not using a condom - you could have it too and not even know it. Lucky for you, not only is chlamydia the easiest STI to treat, you can test yourself for it at home. Pick up a free testing kit before you run out of luck.
What is chlamydia? It’s a bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis, which mainly infects mucosal membranes like the cervix, urethra, rectum, throat and eyes. It is passed from one peson to another in the secretions from these places.
How do you catch chlamydia? From vaginal, anal or oral sex. You can’t catch it from kissing, hugging, sharing baths, towels, cups, plates, or cutlery, or from toilet seats. It can be passed from a mother to her baby during childbirth.
What are the symptoms? Most people won’t have any symptoms. But women might notice increased vaginal discharge, pain during sex, or bleeding afterwards. Men might notice a discharge from the penis or a burning sensation when they go for a pee. Chlamydia can also cause painful swelling of the testicles if left untreated.
If I don’t have symptoms, what’s the problem? If chlamydia is left untreated in women it can cause pelvic inﬂammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy (where the baby develops somewhere other than the womb), and can lead to infertility. Chlamydia can also seriously harm men’s fertility.
How do I avoid catching chlamydia? It’s simple - if you’re going to have sex, a condom is the best way to avoid any type of STI, including chlamydia.
Simply the If you’ve ever been sexually active, whether you have any symptoms or not, you should take a test.
Get a selftest kit The Enﬁeld and Haringey Chlamydia Screening Programme gives free chlamydia tests to under 24 year olds. You can pick up a kit from venues across Enﬁeld and Haringey, or order online or over the phone (see over for details).
Take the test For women, the test is a swab from the vagina. For men, it is a urine sample. You don’t need to be examined, you can do everything yourself. Just follow the instructions that come with the test.
test Send it back Post the test back with your name and contact details - it’s completely conﬁdential and only taken so you can ﬁnd out your result, even if you are under 16.
Wait for the results It usually takes about two weeks to process your test. The results are given to you by letter, text message or phone - it’s up to you.
Get treated If you test positive for Chlamydia you will be asked to contact the Chlamydia Screening Ofﬁce for treatment, which is usually a one-off course of antibiotics. Although you have a positive test result, you won’t know how long you haver been infected, or whether you caught it from your current partner or a previous sexual partner. These doubts can be hard to handle, and some people feel upset or angry and ﬁnd it difﬁcult to talk to their partner or friends. Don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel with the staff at the Chlamydia Screening Programme or the clinic you attend.
Where to get a self-test
It couldnâ€™t be easier to get yourself a chlamydia testing kit.
Online www.gettested.co.uk By phone 07939 827 222
You can collect a chlamydia testing kit from any of these places. Check opening times and availability by calling the venue or check online at www.gettested.co.uk
Sky City Wood Green Shopping City North Middlesex Hospital Family Planning Clinic 020 8442 6810 Crouch End Family Planning Clinic 020 8341 2045 St Ann’s Sexual Health Centre 020 8442 6536 / 6506 Tynemouth Rd Family Planning Clinic Tottenham 020 8275 4012 The Laurels Heathy Living Centre St Ann’s Rd 020 8442 5555 Stuart Crescent Family Planning Clinic 020 8889 4311 Somerset Gardens Family Health Centre 08444 778 711
Enfield Artzone Edmonton Green Shopping City Bowes Rd Family Planning Clinic New Southgate 020 8368 2051 The Evergreen Primary Care Centre Edmonton 020 8887 8339 Forest Primary Care Centre, Family Planning Clinic Edmonton 020 8344 3190 / 3140 Moorﬁeld Rd Family Planning Clinic 020 8805 1632 Town Clinic, Wenlock House 07939 827 222, 020 8362 7637 Two-e Info & advice Ponders End 020 8805 9726 4YP Connexions Multi Agency Centre Enﬁeld Highway Library
Colleges & universities The Chlamydia Screening Programme regularly visits the following colleges and universities. See college welfare notice boards or phone 07939 82722 or 020 8362 7638: • Conel • Enﬁeld College • Southgate College • Middlesex University (Enﬁeld Campus) • Middlesex University (Trent Park Campus) • Capel Manor College
Boots the Chemist You can collect a free chlamydia test in any Boots pharmacy in London.
020 8883 0260
If you are in your teens and sexually active, you may have already come very, very close to someone with a sexually transmitted infection.