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Chlamydia

A toilet with a piece of barbed wire coming out of the bowl

What goes wrong?

It may feel like you are peeing barbed wire. Some girls get a yellowish discharge and feel itchy round the vagina. Some men get white cloudy droplets coming out of their penis. BUT: many women don't feel anything at all. Up to 1 in 10 young women have it, and 90% of them don't know, because they don't feel anything. At least 25% of men have no symptoms from it either.

It's caused by:

Having sex (vaginal or anal or oral) with someone who has the chlamydia bacteria. It can even be passed on by fingering or touching someone's genitals. Once infected a person stays infected until they are treated.

How not to get it:

Don't have sex with anyone who's got it - but use a condom anyway as it is normally impossible to know if the person you are having sex with - has it.

What to do if you do get it or are worried that you might have it?

Head for your doctor's, or your local Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic. You can find this at http://www.fpa.org.uk/Findaclinic. You need to get it sorted because if you are a girl it can damage your chances of having children later in life. It can be treated with antibiotics. It is important to get tested for other sexually transmitted infections at the same time. If you are positive for chlamydia, then it is important to let your previous partners or current partner know so thay can get treated and stop it being spread around. Also go to www.youthhealthtalk.org for more information.