Why should you get tested?
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are separate but distinct bacteria that are passed from partner to partner during vaginal, anal or oral sex. They are different infections but are often tested together because they travel together, are frequently found together in the body, and have similar side effects and cross-over symptoms.
Consider Vaginal, Penile, Anal, or Oral testing if you are experiencing symptoms or:
- Are sexually active with a new partner
- Are sexually active with multiple partners
- Are HIV positive
- Have had unprotected anal intercourse
- Have had intimate oral-to-genital contact with new or multiple partners
Read More (Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Statistics)
In the U.S., there are an estimated 1.4 million cases of chlamydia reported annually, with an increased detection rate in sexually active women aged 16-24. Gonorrhea, although not as prevalent as chlamydia, is the second most reported identifiable STD in the US. From 2012-2013, the CDC reported the following information on gonorrhea:
- The gonorrhea rate decreased among women, but increased among men
- In 2013, for the first time ever, the total number of reported gonorrhea cases was higher in men than in women
- The rate decreased among persons aged 15-24, but increased among persons over age 25
Gonorrhea has progressively developed resistance to each of the antibiotics historically used for treatment. Although the CDC has updated treatment recommendations to counter this trend, this emerging threat highlights the need for continued surveillance of gonorrhea antimicrobial susceptibility and testing post-treatment to ensure antibiotic effectiveness.
What happens if your test is positive?
- Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are easily treated with a course of antibiotics, so it’s important that you make an appointment with a healthcare provider so you can start treatment right away.
- The CDC recommends retesting 3 months after you complete your treatment to ensure it has been effective.
- Because you can transmit your infection to partners at this time, you should abstain from sexual activity until after treatment. You should also inform all current and past sexual partners about your results so they know to get tested as well.
*Please note, most states have regulations that require the processing laboratory to report positive results for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea to a local health department.
What are the signs and symptoms in men and women?
- Abnormal discharge
- Painful periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Itching or burning around the vagina
- A dull pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Burning sensation while urinating
It is critically important for women to know if they have either infection. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to infertility (inability to have a normal pregnancy) and gonorrhea can cause chronic pelvic pain. Complications may include:
- Decreased chances of becoming pregnant due to inflammation and scarring of the fallopian tubes (salpingitis). A single infection can decrease your chances of becoming pregnant by about 20%. With multiple infections, the risk rises to over 40%.
- Increased risk for ectopic pregnancy. This is a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb and can lead to serious complications for you, including bleeding and the need for surgery.
- Chronic pelvic and lower genital pain as a result of scarring that comes from an acute gonorrhea infection.
- Abnormal discharge
- Pain or swelling in the testicles
- Dull, unrelenting discomfort in the testicles
- Burning sensation while urinating
It is reported that up to 50% of the men positive for either chlamydia or gonorrhea are asymptomatic. And even when symptoms are present, they can be infrequent and random, making them difficult to identify.
In men, these infections can cause infertility, inflammatory swelling of the prostate or inflammation of the passages leading from the testicles (epididymitis) that can create overall pain and discomfort in the genital area.
Any sexually active man, symptomatic or not, should be screened for chlamydia/gonorrhea on a regular basis. SelfCollect uses a single urine sample for convenience and accuracy.
Read More (Anal & Oral)
- Rectal bleeding or discharge
- Rectal pain or itching
- Pain or discomfort during bowel movements
These infections are most common in MSM (men who have sex with men). It is reported that the MSM population have more reported anal chlamydia/gonorrhea infections than penile infections. It is also important to understand that having chlamydia and gonorrhea in the anus can cause changes to the ano-genital mucosa that may increase the risk of HIV transmission.
Similar to other anatomic sites, you can be infected with chlamydia and gonorrhea in the anus without any symptoms. If left untreated, these infections can lead to painful bowel movements and overall anal discomfort and bleeding. With a simple anal swab collection, SelfCollect can easily identify the presence of these bacteria.
- Throat pain
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Swelling of the tonsils
In regards to oral chlamydia and gonorrhea infections, there are strong indicators that engagement in oral sex is the major source of transmission.
Most investigators state that kissing does not transmit the disease but it is possible to transmit the disease if the bacteria in the pharynx are transmitted to other objects by direct contact (for example, fingers, penis or sex toys).
Similar to other anatomic sites, a chlamydia or gonorrhea infection in the oropharynx can remain asymptomatic. When symptoms do occur, they are similar to strep throat (sore throat, fever and swelling of the tonsils).