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Chlamydia: Rosa’s story

Rosa, 23, talks about her experience of getting and being treated for chlamydia in university and what she learnt from it.

During my third year at university, I had one exclusive partner and so our precautions with condoms were limited. When I became single again in the summer before my fourth year I found it difficult to adjust. Most of the sexual encounters I had were after a night out and I was fairly drunk because I found the transition back to being single difficult.  

I wasn’t in a great place emotionally, I was much less careful and conscientious than I had been when I was single in the past. I felt like I had to have a drink to be able to feel at ease having sex with someone new, so my inhibitions were lowered. 

Although I used a condom with the majority of the people that I had sex with, there were a couple of exceptions when a condom wasn’t used. For example, with one person I had known for a while and I felt I could trust. It wasn’t until the morning when I realised we hadn’t used protection that I felt anxious and exposed. I look back now and think how lucky I was that I didn’t contract something untreatable or that I didn’t get pregnant. 

I had no idea I had contracted Chlamydia.

It wasn’t until I met my current boyfriend and when we became official in April of 2022, I decided to get tested. It had dawned on me that there was a distinct possibility that I may have contracted something before I started dating him and therefore passed it to him also. 

I decided it would be prudent to get tested for all STIs, even though I had experienced no symptoms at all.

I ordered a testing kit to come in the post and sent it back almost immediately. I have ordered a few testing kits in the post – it’s very quick and easy to do.

After about five days I got a text back telling me that I needed to call the clinic to discuss my results. It was then that I knew this meant something was wrong as I had consistently got tested through this same postal service during my time at university. 

With the support of my housemates, I called the clinic and they confirmed that I had tested positive for Chlamydia.  

At this point the very first thing I did was call my boyfriend and tell him that I had tested positive for Chlamydia, so he needed to get tested right away. I was very upset with myself and felt very panicky which made it quite hard to console me. I was most annoyed at myself because I knew that he had been very careful in the past with everyone he had been with and I was 99% sure that I was the one who had given it to him.  

However, my boyfriend was wonderful. He reassured me that there was no reason to be upset, that it could have been worse and for all we knew he had been the one who transferred it to me. 

After he also tested positive, we arranged to pick up our antibiotics together from the local sexual health clinic.

The people at the clinic couldn’t have been more supportive and I felt absolutely zero judgement at all, which was something I had been panicking about.   

The course was for one week, but they advise to have no form of sexual activity until two weeks after you take your first antibiotic, and to wait six weeks until after you take your first antibiotic to get re-tested to make sure the infection is cleared up. When I got re-tested, the results came back after three days to tell me that I was completely STI free.  

Although this experience felt traumatic, I learnt to put my health first. I put off getting tested for too long because I felt ashamed about the thought of having an STI, which I now feel so ridiculous about because it was so easily rectified.   

My experience shines a light on the importance of talking about STIs, because the more you talk about something, the quicker it gets rid of the fear and stigma around it. After I started to talk more openly, I found so many people who either had been through something similar or knew someone who had.  

Things like STIs, unwanted pregnancies or other ‘private’ health problems, are so often seen as taboo subjects due to there being so much shame around sex and expressing your sexuality. 

Although Chlamydia is easily cured and is not life-threatening, which is the case for the majority of STIs in this age of modern medicine, if I hadn’t caught it early it could have led to a number of other health problems.  

Since my diagnosis, I have never once felt shame about it, I am just so happy that I took the leap and got tested. 

Now, I feel completely secure in my physical and mental health. I will never again put off calling the doctor or getting tested for anything that I think may be a risk to my health, because it is not worth living in fear and anxiety about. 

The most enjoyable sex at the end of the day is safe sex. Don’t put it off, just get tested! 

 Look after yourself and remember that non-barrier forms of birth control e.g. the pill, will not protect you from STI’s, so if in doubt, ALWAYS use a condom and take the time to learn how to use one correctly. 

I am so happy to share my experience in the hope that even one person will see it and think to themselves ‘I should put my health first too’.   

Order a free sti test kit

The best way to prevent the transmission of STIs is by getting regularly tested and using condoms during sex. Completing a home test kit is quick and easy. You can do this by ordering an STI kit online that you complete at home and send back in the post. 

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