Post Valentines Blues

Valentine’s Day: a time for love, chocolates, and… chlamydia awareness? That’s right! While Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic days of the year, we’re here to talk about something less romantic, but important: the world of sexually transmitted diseases, especially chlamydia.

In a report by the UK Health Security Agency, chlamydia is one of the most reported sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK, with the figure continuing to rise. In 2022, chlamydia diagnoses of all ages increased 24.3% from 160,279 in 2021 to 199,233 in 2022. This highlights not just the prevalence of the infection but also its spread, showing the need for awareness and proactive health measures.

Chlamydia often goes unnoticed, but it’s common and can have serious consequences if left unchecked. That’s why it’s important to openly talk about it, because nothing says “I care” like talking about STIs with your Valentine!

Enter e-Surgery! We’re here to guide you through the maze of sexual health, giving you the knowledge, products and services to keep chlamydia at bay. So, before you swipe right on that irresistible profile, join us in swiping left on post-Valentine’s blues and saying a big no to unwanted STIs. 

After all, the best love story is one where everyone stays happy, healthy, and well-informed.

Couple on date

Understanding Chlamydia

What Is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexual transmitted infection (STI) that affects both men and women and is mainly transmitted through unprotected sex. Without treatment, it can lead to severe health issues such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women and infertility in both males and females. 

Symptoms And Risks

Surprisingly, many people aren’t aware they even have chlamydia as symptoms can barely be noticeable or not be shown at all (this is why it’s known as the ‘silent STI’). 

However, some symptoms for men to be aware of are: 

  • burning sensation during urination
  • unusual discharge from the penis
  • pain or swelling in the testicles

Women should also be aware of symptoms such as: 

  • burning sensation during urination
  • yellow or bloody vaginal discharge
  • painful sexual intercourse
  • abdominal pain

How It Spreads?

Chlamydia doesn’t discriminate, it loves to spread from person to person through unprotected sexual contact. This can be through vaginal, anal and oral sex without the use of condoms or other forms of protection. 

Why Is It Rising?

With the increased talk and awareness of STIs, you’d have thought that chlamydia would be laying low. But this isn’t the case, especially in the UK. It turns out that one in ten sexually active young people have reported never using protection! Add in the mix of new sexual experiences and multiple partners, especially university students, and you’ve got the perfect combination needed for a rise of STIs. 

Remember, even the act of forgetting protection or a broken condom can lead to an STI making a surprise appearance. The lack of communication about STI status can also lead to an unwanted STI. You can find out more about the different types of contraception in our handy A-Z guide. 

Couple dancing

Getting Tested & Treated

Why Testing Is Important? 

Getting tested is necessary and vital as the sequel to your Valentine’s Day adventures. As we’ve already mentioned, chlamydia can easily go undetected and regular testing is the only definitive way to diagnose it. Early detection of the infection is also important to prevent any complications from occurring in the future. 

Testing Options and Procedures 

The test for chlamydia is relatively straightforward – just a simple urine sample. In order to find a test, the NHS provides information on locating the nearest GUM clinic and obtaining free testing kits. 

If you’d like to keep it extra safe, testing facilities can also be used for a comprehensive checkup at a local GUM clinic for those at risk of other STIS such as gonorrhoea or syphilis. These clinics often offer walk-in services and provide anonymous results within a few days, ensuring both convenience and confidentiality. 

Chlamydia Treatment and Medication 

When it comes to treating chlamydia, the antibiotics Doxycycline and Azithromycin are often used: 

  • Doxycycline: a tetracycline antibiotic that hinders bacterial growth. Usually taken as a 7 day course. 
  • Azithromycin: a macrolide antibiotic that impedes bacterial growth. Usually taken as a 3 day course. 

Taking these prescribed chlamydia medications is essential for eradicating the infection. If you skip doses or end your treatment early, even if symptoms improve, the risk of chlamydia returning increases. 

If a different medication is given to you because of health considerations, you should ask about potential interactions with other over-the-counter medications or supplements with your doctor. 


Couple social media

Preventing Chlamydia

Safe Sex Practices 

The best way to prevent chlamydia largely depends on adopting safe sex practices. This can involve: 

  • Regular STI Screenings: these regular check-ins can spot and stop STIs, which is incredibly important when mixing up your social circles. 
  • Being STI-Savvy: be informed and knowledgeable about STIs and how to keep them at bay. 

Condom Use 

Condoms are your MVPs when it comes to blocking chlamydia, acting as a barrier between you and your unwanted germ. It’s important to: 

  • Use Condoms Consistently: using condoms isn’t a sometimes thing, it’s an every time thing. 
  • Choose The Right Type of Condom: both male and female condoms are effective, ensuring that they are used correctly. 
  • Understand Condom Limitations: while condoms significantly reduce the risk of STIS, they do not provide 100% protection. 

Young couple under duvet holding a condom, practice safe sex to avoid a chlamydia infection, e-Surgery

Communicating With Partners 

Open and honest communication is essential for any healthy relationship, especially when it comes to sexual health. This includes discussing STI status, sharing prevention tactics, and voicing any concerns you might have. 

Preventing chlamydia cannot be done alone; it’s about creating a culture of awareness and taking steps towards safer sexual health. By taking these steps, you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re protecting others! 

Other STIs

While chlamydia has taken the spotlight here, it’s not the only STI you need to be aware of around Valentine’s Day. Each of these other STIs carries unique risks and further highlights how important safe sexual practices are. Here’s a quick overview of the others, and the symptoms you should be aware of: 

  • Herpes: This causes painful blisters or ulcers at the infection site. However, like chlamydia, many people experience no visible symptoms, or symptoms so mild they’re unnoticed. 
  • Gonorrhoea: Symptoms can include a burning sensation when urinating, increased discharge, and painful or swollen testicles. 
  • Syphilis: A painless sore, followed by a rash, that can lead to serious health issues without treatment. 

As mentioned, prevention and knowledge are your best defences against STIs; understanding how they spread, recognising the importance of regular testing, and engaging in protected sex. The more you know about these STIs the better you’ll be at preventing them, and where prevention slips, you’ll know about routine screenings for early detection. Additionally, the role of protection, such as condoms are also important. They’re not just about preventing pregnancy, they’re also crucial in blocking STIs. 

Resources & Support

The process isn’t quite over once you’ve gone through STI testing and maybe even treatment. It’s vital that any follow-up care is used to ensuring that health-wise you’re heading in the right direction.  

It’s also important to remember that you’re not alone if you’re suffering from an STI. There’s a bunch of services and support available for you, including counselling services, informational websites, community support groups, and online forums. These sources help individuals cope with their STI diagnosis but can also help promote a healthy approach to sexual health and well-being. 

Finally, at e-Surgery we offer easy to access information through our Health Hub, treatment options, and expert advice through our ‘Ask-a-Pharmacist‘ page. We’re committed to supporting you in your journey towards better sexual health!