How do you catch chlamydia?

Dr Kathryn Basford

Medically reviewed by

Dr Kathryn Basford

Last reviewed: 01 Jul 2022

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is usually passed on through unprotected sex, which is sex without a condom. Chlamydia doesn't usually have symptoms, so the only way to know for sure if you have it is by taking a chlamydia test.


How do you get chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an STI that can be caught through unprotected sex. This means you have to have sex without a condom to catch chlamydia. You may also get chlamydia if you have sex with an infected person and the condom splits. You can get chlamydia by:

  • having unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex
  • sharing sex toys with an infected person that has not washed and covered the sex toy with a condom
  • infected genital fluid getting into your eye
  • your genitals coming into contact with your sexual partner's genitals

If you are pregnant, you can pass chlamydia onto your baby.

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How easily is chlamydia transmitted during sex?

Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs, as the infection can be transmitted easily during unprotected sex. You are unlikely to catch chlamydia if you have sex with a condom and do not come into contact with the infected person's genitals or fluid in any other way.

Can you catch chlamydia from oral or anal sex?

Yes, you can catch chlamydia from oral or anal sex if you do not use a condom. Using a condom can protect you from getting an STI, but you should do a test if the condom breaks or splits. You could catch chlamydia if the infected person's genital fluids (vaginal fluid or semen) come into contact with your mouth or anus.

Can you catch chlamydia from sharing sex toys?

Yes, you can catch chlamydia from sharing sex toys if they have not been cleaned properly and covered with a condom. If you share a sex toy with a sexual partner, make sure to clean it thoroughly and use a new condom every time you use it. This can kill any bacteria and make sure chlamydia cannot spread. You can catch chlamydia from sharing a sex toy vaginally, anally, or orally.

Can you get chlamydia without having sex?

Yes, you could catch chlamydia without penetration or ejaculation if your genitals come into contact with an infected person’s genitals. You can also catch chlamydia by sharing sex toys with someone else and without having sex with each other. Chlamydia could also be passed on through infected vaginal fluid or semen getting into your eye.

Can you catch chlamydia from a toilet seat?

No, you cannot catch chlamydia from a toilet seat. Nor can you catch chlamydia from:

  • sharing a bath
  • using the same towel
  • in a swimming pool
  • using the same cutlery or drinking from the same cup

Can you catch chlamydia from kissing?

No, you cannot catch chlamydia from kissing as chlamydia cannot be passed on through saliva. This means it is safe to kiss your sexual partner on the lips even if they have tested positive for chlamydia. However, you could catch chlamydia from kissing or licking an infected person's genitals or anus.

How can you tell if you have chlamydia?

Chlamydia often has no symptoms, meaning it can be difficult to tell if you have chlamydia. If you do get symptoms, you may get pain when peeing, unusual discharge from your penis, bottom, or vagina, and pain in your genitals. You can take a chlamydia test at home to check if you have chlamydia. You can also visit your local STI clinic, GP, or some pharmacies.

If you test positive for chlamydia, you will need chlamydia treatment. Asda Online Doctor can prescribe doxycycline, which is the most effective antibiotic for chlamydia. The usual dose is 100mg tablets, twice a day, for 7 days. You should wait to have sex until you and your sexual partner have finished your treatment and have no symptoms.

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Medically reviewed by:
Dr Kathryn Basford

Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.

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Article created: 01 Jul 2022

Last reviewed: 01 Jul 2022

Bacterial infections of chlamydia need to be treated with antibiotics. Asda Online Doctor by ZAVA offers a range of these through a fast and discreet service.

(Reviews are for ZAVA UK)

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