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Chlamydia is a sexually transmissible infection (STI). This page explains the symptoms and what you need to know if you have chlamydia.

What is it?

Chlamydia usually infects the cervix and urethra and is passed from person to person during sex. If it’s not treated it can cause infertility.

It is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmissible infection (STI) in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

How do you get it?

You can get chlamydia through unprotected (no condom) sexual contact including vaginal, oral and anal sex. Pregnant women can spread the bacteria to a baby during birth.

What are the symptoms?

For most people there are no symptoms.

If you do have symptoms, they can include: 

  • vaginal discharge
  • bleeding between periods
  • lower abdominal pain
  • pain when weeing
  • pain during sex.
  • pain when weeing
  • discharge from penis.

So you have chlamydia: What now?

How is it treated?

Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. It is important that you take all the pills you are given. You may be given pills for seven to 10 days or you may be given pills for just one day.

  • if you could be pregnant please tell the nurse or doctor so you are given the correct antibiotics
  • tell the nurse or doctor if you are allergic to any antibiotics
  • it is best to have another test 3 months after treatment to check you have not got chlamydia again.

How will this impact my partner/s?

Your recent sexual partners will need treatment. The best advice is not to have sex until at least seven days after you and your partner/s have had treatment. If you do have sex, you must use a condom or oral dam.

How can I prevent it?

Condoms will help protect you and your partner/s when you have sex.

What if I don't get it treated? 

If chlamydia is left untreated it can become a serious threat to your health. 

Chlamydia can spread from your cervix to your uterus and fallopian tubes. It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can damage and block your tubes.   You may not be able to get pregnant if both tubes are blocked because sperm are unable to reach the egg. If you have had PID you are more at risk of having an ectopic pregnancy (in your fallopian tubes) or long-term pelvic pain.

Chlamydia can spread from your penis to your testicles (balls) and cause painful swelling. You can become infertile.


During birth, babies can become infected with chlamydia from their mother. This may cause eye infections and pneumonia.

If you have any questions about chlamydia or the treatment, talk to your doctor or nurse.

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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