Chlamydia

Background

Genital chlamydia is caused by infection with Chlamydia trachomatis and is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in Scotland and the UK. It's spread through unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex with an infected person. The highest rates of infection are recorded among those aged under 25 years.

Chlamydial infection often has no symptoms, but untreated or repeat infections can lead to reproductive morbidity for women, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy and tubal factor infertility (TFI). Men with chlamydial infection can suffer from epididymitis.

Chlamydial infection can be treated with antibiotics.

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a specific serovar (L1, L2 and L3) or stain of Chlamydia trachomatis. Testing in Scotland is performed by the Scottish Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infection Reference Laboratory (SBSTIRL). LGV re-emerged in Europe in 2004 with outbreaks recorded in many European cities among men who have sex with men (MSM).

While symptoms can be painful and severe, LGV can be treated with antibiotics.

For more information on LGV please visit Terence Higgins Trust and for the latest data in the UK please visit the Public Health England (PHE) website.

More information on genital chlamydia and where to get a test can be found on the NHS inform website.

Guidance

Publications

The Blood borne viruses (BBV) and sexually transmitted infections (STI) report, produced by our BBV and STI team, describes the epidemiology of Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other STIs in Scotland to the end of December 2016. It also describes the impact of interventions in preventing infection and associated disease and highlights public health priorities.

The report also signposts readers to other Scottish reports and data sources which are available on our website. The commentary is structured around the outcome indicators detailed in the Scottish Government’s Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus (SHBBV) Framework, 2015 to 2020.

Data and surveillance

Data on Chlamydia trachomatis are extracted from the Electronic Communication of Surveillance in Scotland (ECOSS). Our surveillance system is updated daily with positive results from all Scottish diagnostic and reference laboratories.

In 2009, the universal use of ECOSS by testing laboratories in Scotland came into effect. As a result, trends observed since then are not directly comparable to those prior to this.

View our annual reports:

View Scotland's Sexual Health Information (SSHI 2013): Health Protection Scotland Slide Set

Sexual health and blood borne virus framework

The Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework, first published by the Scottish Government in August 2011 and updated in September 2015, brought together policy areas on sexual health and blood borne viruses, namely human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). The framework supports improvements in sexual health and wellbeing and addresses the impact of blood borne virus infection in Scotland. The framework seeks to strengthen and improve multi-agency partnerships to address the five high-level outcomes:

  1. Fewer newly acquired blood borne viruses and STIs; fewer unintended pregnancies
  2. A reduction in the health inequalities gap in sexual health and blood borne viruses
  3. People affected by blood borne viruses lead longer, healthier lives
  4. Sexual relationships are free from coercion and harm.
  5. A society whereby the attitudes of individuals, the public, professionals and the media in Scotland towards sexual health and blood borne viruses are positive, non-stigmatising and supportive.