Chlamydia and gonorrhea are easily diagnosed and treated
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) caused by bacterial infections. They are transmitted through sexual contact with the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus of an infected individual. These STDs can also be transmitted from a mother with an untreated infection to her newborn during childbirth, increasing the risk of chlamydial conjunctivitis and pneumonia, and gonorrhea-associated eye infections and sepsis.
Although many infected individuals do not show any symptoms, untreated chlamydial and gonorrheal infections can lead to serious health complications. In females, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and PID-associated infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain can occur. Untreated chlamydia during pregnancy has been associated with preterm delivery, and untreated gonorrhea during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and inflammation of the lining of the uterus.
Complications in untreated males can include epididymitis, sterility, and prostatis. Other potential complications include gonococcal bacteremia, pharyngitis, and reactive arthritis. Chlamydial and gonorrheal infections also facilitate the transmission of HIV infection.
Why consider this test?
You should consider getting tested if:
- You are sexually active
- You have had unprotected sex
- You are entering a new relationship
- You are experiencing symptoms of an STD
- You have had a partner with an STD
If you suspect that you have been exposed to chlamydia or gonorrhea, be aware that there is a “window period” of around two weeks where laboratory assays are unable to detect bacteria that cause these two common STDs.
CDC recommendations for testing:
- Annual testing for both chlamydia and gonorrhea in all sexually active females <25 years, and in females >25 years who have risk factors (e.g. new partner or multiple sexual partners)
- Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea in all pregnant females
- Annual testing for gonorrhea in all sexually active males <25 years, and in males >25 years who have risk factors
- Routine testing for chlamydia in sexually active men who have sex with men, and in clinical settings with a high prevalence of chlamydia