Like all other STIs, chlamydia is a completely preventable condition. With certain precautions taken both during and after sex you can significantly reduce the risk of contracting this bacterial infection, but also of spreading it to your partner if you have already been infected. The most important and certainly the most common prevention methods include:

  • Barrier contraception (male or female condom)
  • Taking care when using sex toys
  • Abstinence if no barrier contraception is available

If there is any reason to suspect that either you or your partner might have been infected, it is highly advisable to refrain from sex and taking an STI test as soon as possible. However, in a majority of cases, people affected might not be aware that they have been exposed to the bacteria due to the fact that chlamydia can often remain asymptomatic for prolonged periods of time. This is why there is no alternative to STI testing when it comes to diagnosing this condition.

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Chlamydia prevention methods

Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of getting infected by chlamydia, but there are many precautions you can take in order to minimize the risks of getting infected. Some of the measures that we will discuss here involve rather practical means, while others can be considered more typical precautionary measures (such as avoiding intercourse or discussing sexual history with a partner before engaging in sex), while others will cover different approaches.

Barrier contraception: Can it prevent chlamydia?

Yes, barrier contraception was designed in such a way as to prevent the transmission of fluids between sexual partners. As such, barrier contraceptives provide protection against coming into contact with either sperm or vaginal fluid and consequently, protection against STIs that are transmitted this way. The same goes for chlamydia.

Different barrier contraceptives will be discussed in more detail below.

Male condoms

Male condoms are probably the most common form of contraceptives in general. Typically made of latex (but also available in latex-free versions for those who might be allergic to the compound), they are applied to the penis before sexual intercourse and they work by preventing sperm from entering the vagina, anus or mouth. At the same time, they also prevent vaginal fluid or anal mucous secretions from coming into contact with the penis, thus helping prevent the transmission of STIs.

However, as chlamydia can also be passed on through contact between body parts around genitals, condoms don’t completely eliminate the risks. They do, however, reduce them by as much as 90% according to a study from 2005.1

Male condoms can be easily obtained in various stores, supermarkets and pharmacies, with the price of the leading brands being somewhere between 80p to £1 per condom.

Female condoms

Female condoms work on the same principle as male condoms do, but they are placed inside the vagina. Usually, they are made from flexible plastic material polyurethane. Similarly to male condoms, they aren’t 100% effective in the prevention of chlamydia, but according to the medical experts, they offer roughly the same level of protection as male condoms do when properly applied.

While they are not as popular and consequently as available as male condoms, they can still be easily obtained at health centres, GUM and STI clinics.

Dental dams

Dental dams are the form of barrier contraceptives that is used for safe oral sex. They are not as commonly used as other forms of barrier contraception. Usually, dental dams are made of latex or polyurethane and they look like a small sheet that is used to cover vagina or anus during oral sex. However, as of now there is relatively little info on their efficiency in preventing STDs. They can be obtained through some of the NHS services, including GUM and STI clinics.

Sex toys and the risk of chlamydia infection

Chlamydia can also be transmitted through the practice of sharing sex toys. The bacteria causing the infection can survive for several days, even weeks in the right conditions, outside of the host’s body, meaning they can remain on the used sex toys. However, with certain precautionary methods, it is possible to limit these risks:

  • Avoid sharing sex toys
  • Clean sex toys between uses
  • Apply a condom to sex toy before using it

In addition to infections that can be spread through vaginal fluids of anal mucous secretions on the sex toys, if there are lesions in the vagina or anus, there is also the risk of transmitting blood-borne infections.

If you do decide to share sex toys, it is important to be careful and dedicate some of them for one specific partner and never share it with another partner.

Washing sex toys between uses is another important prevention method. It involves thoroughly cleaning penetrative sex toys between uses by different people, but also between uses in different areas of the body when used on one person. This way, you will significantly reduce the risk of passing on harmful infections such as chlamydia.

Another very important precautionary measure when it comes to sharing sex toys is to use a condom and change it between users.


The measures mentioned above can significantly reduce the risk of contracting chlamydia. However, neither of them is completely reliable. The only way to be completely certain that you won’t get infected by this condition (or that you won’t pass it on to someone else) is to refrain from having sex altogether.

If you or your partner are not completely certain whether you might be infected by an STI and no form of barrier protection is available at the moment, abstinence might be the best course of action. Alternatively, you can opt for a low-risk sexual activity, such as masturbation or mutual masturbation (but not switching between the two).


  1. Condom effectiveness for prevention of Chlamydia Infection – BMJ Journals