BACKGROUND: A survey of Western Australia's general practitioners' (GPs') knowledge and practices relating to genital chlamydia infection was conducted in mid-2005, prior to a multi-media campaign which encouraged 15-24 year olds to seek chlamydia testing through their general practitioner (GP). The survey aimed to raise GPs' awareness of chlamydia in preparation for the campaign and to establish a baseline measure of their chlamydia-related knowledge and practices. METHODS: All 2038 GPs registered on the Australian Medical Publishing Company's database as practising in Western Australia were sent a survey which covered clinical features of chlamydia, investigations, treatment and public health issues; 576 (29%) responded. RESULTS: Most GPs were aware of chlamydia being common in the 20-24 year old age group, but less than half were aware that it is common in 15-19 year olds. GPs missed many opportunities for chlamydia testing in patients likely to be at risk of STIs, largely because they thought the patient would be embarrassed. It is of concern that public health responsibilities in relation to chlamydia, ie notification and contact tracing, were not undertaken by all GPs. CONCLUSION: Australia is currently piloting chlamydia screening. For this to be successful, GPs will need to maintain current knowledge and clinical suspicion about chlamydia, and be comfortable in asking and receiving information about sexual behaviours. Only then will GPs have a significant impact on curbing Australia's ever-increasing rates of chlamydia.