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Chlamydia

What is chlamydia?

  • Chlamydia is a common STI in Belgium.  The bacteria are found in the mucous membrane of the penis (urethra), vagina, anus or throat and cause an infection there.  

What causes chlamydia?

  • Chlamydia is very contagious and in case of unsafe sex you can transmit the bacteria to others.  For instance, if the infected mucous membrane comes into contact with the mucous membrane of the penis, vagina, anus or throat.  
  • This can cause an infection in the throat during oral sex (contact between penis and mouth) and an infection of the anus during anal sex (contact between penis and anus).
  • Do you have anal contacts, please also read the information on LVG.  This infection is more common in case of msm (men having sex with men) but also women run the risk of being infected by LVG.

What are the complaints?

  • Chlamydia doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, so you do not notice that you are infected.  
  • If you do have complaints, it is usually at the place where you are infected (throat, anus, vagina).  
  • Even if the infection does not give you any complaints, you can still transmit the infection to other people!
  • You get complaints that seem similar to an inflammation of the bladder, such as pain or a burning feeling when urinating or pain in the abdomen.  
  • Furthermore, you may suffer from more or changed vaginal discharge (sometimes yellowish green), 
  • Painful sexual intercourse, 
  • Loss of blood after intercourse or between periods. 
  • In case of an infection in the anus, you may suffer from itching and a slimy discharge.  
  • In case of an infection in your throat, you may have a sore throat,  a bad taste in your mouth and bad breath.
  • A chlamydia infection can spread to the ovaries and abdomen. This may cause infertility and you are more at risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Chlamydia can be effectively cured if you act fast.  Therefore, it is a good idea to get a test after an unsafe contact.

How can the infection be diagnosed?

  • Chlamydia can be diagnosed by means of a urine test or by taking some discharge from the vagina, anus or throat with a cotton swab.
  • A chlamydia test is only accurate two weeks after the possible infection, because the bacteria can only be detected after this period.  If there are already obvious complaints, the infection can sometimes be diagnosed earlier.

Treatment

  • As long as you are not treated, you can infect others. 
  • Chlamydia can be cured effectively with antibiotics.

 Warning partners

  • Because chlamydia is transmitted by sexual contact, you must inform the partners you had sex with (without condom) in the past six months.  
  • It is best if your sex partners also get a test, even if they don’t have any complaints.  
  • In case of an infection they will also have to be treated.  This is important to prevent you from getting infected again and to prevent your sex partners from infecting others.This can be done by your family doctor or at an STI clinic in the neighbourhood.

Work advice

  • As long as the infection is not treated, you can infect others!                                        
  • Up to approximately one week after the treatment you can still infect others.  
  • It is recommended not to have sexual contacts during the week of the treatment, this gives the mucous membranes time to heal.
  • In case of a vaginal or anal infection, no vaginal or anal sex.
  • In case of an infection in your throat, it is better not to give a blowjob. 
  • During the treatment it is safe to give a hand job. 
  • A week after the treatment you can start working again.
  • After treatment the chlamydia infection is gone.  Contact your doctor if the complaints continue or come back after treatment.  You may still have another sexually transmitted infection.  
  • If you have a steady partner, keep having safe sex until you and your partner have been treated and, if applicable, until it appears from further tests that there are no other sexually transmitted infections.

The leaflet

Bacterial infections