Chlamydia is a common and curable STI that affects all age groups.
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Chlamydia is a common and curable sexually transmitted infection (STI), caused by a type of bacteria that can be passed on during vaginal, oral and anal sex. Most people do not show symptoms of chlamydia but can still pass the infection on to others. Mothers can also pass chlamydia to their babies during birth. If left un-diagnosed chlamydia can lead to serious health complications.

Chlamydia is a common and curable STI that affects all age groups, with the highest incidence amongst sexually active 16 to 25 year olds.

If Left Undiagnosed?

In women, many untreated chlamydia infections lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause infertility, potential life-threatening ectopic pregnancies, and in rare cases, cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder). It is estimated that 3 in 4 women with chlamydia don’t know they have it, which is why getting tested is so important.

Chlamydia can also cause prenatal problems for an unborn baby, including pneumonia and blindness. The serious effect of chlamydia on babies makes it one of the most important STIs to test for and cure.

In men, untreated chlamydia infection can spread to other parts of the penis, prostate and testicles, causing pain and inflammation. In a small number of cases, untreated chlamydia infection can spread to the tube that carries sperm from the testes, causing pain, fever and sterility.

Both women and men with chlamydia are also at a higher risk of contracting HIV, and other STIs in general.

How is it Spread?

People get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who already has the infection. In many cases, people with chlamydia do not show any noticeable symptoms of the infection however this does not stop the spread of the infection from one person to another.

If a mother has chlamydia her baby can become infected during birth, which can be very dangerous for the newly born child.

Chlamydia can be transmitted even when there are no noticeable symptoms.

What are the Symptoms?

In most cases people with Chlamydia show no symptoms, and so it is passed on to others without knowing. Whether someone shows symptoms or not, the effects of Chlamydia infection are equally as dangerous.

If symptoms occur they usually develop one to three weeks after exposure.

For men, symptoms can include;

  • a discharge from the penis
  • swollen and sore testicles
  • anal discharge or discomfort
  • conjunctivitis and eye inflammation

For women, symptoms can include;

  • pain when urinating
  • bleeding or pain during or after sex
  • bleeding between regular periods
  • unusual vaginal discharge
  • cramps or pain in the lower abdomen
  • anal pain or discharge
  • conjunctivitis and eye inflammation

How is it Tested?

SmartHealth tests symptomatic and asymptomatic men and women for Chlamydia using nucleic acid amplification based techniques (PCR), which test for the presence of the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis. There is no swabbing involved, only a single urine sample is required.

The advantage of these type of DNA amplification tests is that they are generally more sensitive (and can therefore more accurately identify positive specimens), and are simple and non-invasive for the patient.


Chlamydia is curable and treatment with a course of antibiotics will kill the infection, usually within a week. As with all medication, treatment will only be successful if administered correctly, so if diagnosed it's important to follow the doctor’s instructions, read the label of any medication carefully and always finish the full course of medicine.

If you’re in a sexual relationship, both you and your partner should be treated and re-tested for chlamydia before having any kind of sex again, so as to avoid re-infection.

If you have been treated for chlamydia, you should be tested again in 3 months - this is called the “test of cure” and is the best way to confirm a clean bill of health.


If you have had Chlamydia before, being cured doesn’t mean that you can’t get it again. For this reason sexual partners should be treated at the same time, so the untreated partner doesn’t reinfect the treated partner. Following treatment, it is recommended that both parties are tested again before commencing any new sexual relationship, as Chlamydia is highly contagious and reinfection is common.

Statutory Notification

Chlamydia is a notifiable disease, which means that doctors and laboratories are legally required to notify state and federal health departments about new cases. This information is treated confidentially and the statistics used for public health planning.