Chlamydia tests

Updated on:
February 16, 2022

Testing for chlamydia is widely available and can be completed by a healthcare provider through collecting a urine sample along with swabs.

Getting regular STI tests is an important way to prevent infection or reinfection of sexual partners.

What tests are available for chlamydia?

The most common method of testing for chlamydia involves collecting a urine sample in combination with collecting swabs of the affected area(s). The most thorough method of screening involves urine collection along with throat swabs, rectal swabs, and genital swabs. Genital swabs will collect a sample from the urethral opening of the penis or from the cervical opening in the vagina.

For people with a penis performing a urine sample, collecting the "first-catch" of urine increases the chances of detection. To do this effectively, do not clean your penis immediately prior to providing the urine sample and do not urinate within the two hours before. When providing the urine sample, try to ensure that when you first begin urinating, the initial stream enters the collection cup directly. Only the first 30 mL of urine is needed.

Urine analysis alone can sometimes miss infections if swabbing is not also done. Throat and rectal infections can be missed, especially when asymptomatic. 

Testing for STIs is free and covered by healthcare in Canada, even for uninsured individuals.

Where can I get tested for chlamydia?

Your family physician and most walk-in clinics can perform chlamydia testing.

Sexual health testing facilities are also available to perform screening and treatment.

Freddie routinely completes urine testing as recommended by the PrEP guidelines in Canada. Self collection of throat and rectal swabs is relatively new to Canada and to virtual care. There is also a global shortage of throat and rectal swabs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Freddie is currently piloting this with some persons with hopes of being able to offer this to all patients in the very near future. 

How long does it take to get the results back for a chlamydia test?

Test results for chlamydia screening usually take about seven days. 

If you are being tested as part of routine screening and have no symptoms of chlamydia, there’s no need to change your behaviours. 

If you are being tested and you currently have any symptom of chlamydia, it is recommended that you abstain from sexual contact until you get your results.

Reviewed by:
Dr. Caley Shukalek

Caley is passionate about evidence-based, patient-centred care, including telemedicine that can provide high quality care from wherever a patient may choose.

He helped create Alberta's PrEP guidelines and works as a specialist in General Internal Medicine with additional training in sexual health, including HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

He holds an Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, an MD from the University of Calgary and an MSc from the University of Alberta.