Chlamydia, or sometimes known colloquially as ‘the clam’, is one of the most common STIs among guys who have sex with guys. It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, which can enter the body during sex; in particular, anal or oral sex.
Like most STIs, Chlamydia doesn’t always present symptoms in men. You may still have Chlamydia, but experience what’s called an asymptomatic infection. When Chlamydia does present signs and symptoms, they are almost identical to symptoms of Gonorrhoea. Therefore looking for symptoms alone is not a reliable way to identify a case of Chlamydia. This is why you should test for Chlamydia and other STIs regularly while you are sexually active.
For those who feel they may be showing symptoms of Chlamydia, these are the signs you should look out for that may indicate you have the clam.
1. Discharge from the tip of your penis
Notice a strange liquid discharge from the tip of your penis? If it’s white, cloudy and or watery, then you could be presenting a symptom of Chlamydia.
2. Discomfort when peeing
There are many conditions that could cause discomfort while peeing. You should look out for any instances where you feel unexplained pain, itchy or a ‘burning sensation’ while urinating. This is also a sign that you could have Chlamydia.
3. Inflammation or irritation of the balls
Feeling a bit tender down below? Pain, swelling and redness of the balls could also indicate that you have Chlamydia.
4. Burning and irritation of the urethra
Unlike some other STIs, the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis can spread to the urethra and cause significant discomfort. The urethra is the duct that connects the bladder with the tip of the penis or front hole. If you have Chlamydia, you may experience pain, tingling, itching, burning or redness along the urethra.
5. Discharge from the arse
Unexplained pain, bleeding, or unusual discharge from your arse are potential symptoms of Chlamydia. If you do experience any of these symptoms, don’t delay getting it checked out by a doctor or your sexual health clinic.
What should I do if symptoms of Chlamydia appear?
If you experience symptoms of Chlamydia after sexual activity, you should see your doctor or visit a sexual health clinic as soon as you can to get tested. For guys who have sex guys, you should get tested for HIV and STIs once every three months.
Not sure where to get tested? There are sexual health clinics across Sydney and regional NSW that all offer confidential STI testing and treatment. HIV and STI tests at clinics across the state are free, though if you get tested with a general practitioner this may vary depending on your access to Medicare, and whether or not your doctor offers a bulk billing service. You can find your closest sexual health testing site using our ‘where to get tested’ tool.