Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in Finland. It is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and is treated with antibiotics. Chlamydia is often symptomless: about 50% of men and 70% of women have no symptoms. You should get tested if you have the slightest suspicion that you are infected. You should also get tested if you’ve had unprotected sex with anyone who isn’t your regular partner.
Chlamydia can be transmitted during unprotected sex, including oral and anal sex via the mucosa. You can protect yourself against STDs by using a condom or an oral sex barrier. A condom and a suitable lubricant should be used especially in sex between men. Chlamydia is transmitted more easily via broken mucosa.
Symptoms and testing
Symptoms of chlamydia usually appear within 1 to 3 weeks after transmission. Symptoms may include a burning sensation when urinating, frequent urination, discharge from the urethra, increased vaginal discharge, bleeding and lower abdominal pain following intercourse, and sometimes symptoms of infection in the rectum, throat or eye. An STD infection can’t be diagnosed based on symptoms only; the diagnosis must always be based on laboratory tests.
In men, the sample is taken either from the first urine or from the urethra with a cotton swab; in women, a swab from the vaginal mucosa is recommended. Samples are also taken from the throat and the rectum, as they are potential transmission routes too.
If you have no symptoms and you haven’t had unprotected oral or anal sex, you can do a home test free of charge. This single test is a quick way to find out if you have chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
If you have symptoms or you’ve had unprotected oral or anal sex, contact the assessment of need for treatment service.
Treatment of chlamydia
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. New transmissions should be prevented during treatment. You should not have sex during the first week of treatment, and you should use a condom until the follow-up examination. The follow-up sample will be taken at five weeks after the start of the treatment. Your regular sex partner should be treated at the same time. Treatment can be started immediately after testing. Untreated chlamydia may cause infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
Treatment of chlamydia is free of charge at all municipal treatment sites. The FSHS operates in accordance with municipal agreements.
If your home test is positive: If you test positive in a home test, contact the FSHS’s assessment of need for treatment service by phone or via SelfChat.
If your laboratory test is positive: If you had a referral for laboratory testing for STDs, we’ll contact you if your test result is positive.
References: Terveysportti, Current Care Guideline
Public health nurse / 5.7.2022