Chlamydia & Gonorrhea: More than 4 million Americans contract these diseases annually. Are you at risk?
- Engaging in unsafe sex
- Having sex with multiple partners
- Having sex with someone who has multiple partners
- Having a history of sexually transmitted infections
Minimize your risk by:
- Using condoms or diaphragms during sexual intercourse
- Forming a monogamous relationship in which both partners are faithful
- Limiting your number of sex partners
- Including a chlamydia and gonorrhea screening as part of your annual examination
Q: What are chlamydia and gonorrhea?
A: Chlamydia, caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis, is the most-common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. It is estimated that more than 3 million Americans contract this disease annually.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be transmitted during oral, vaginal, or anal sex with an infected partner and also from an infected mother to her newborn child during delivery. These diseases can affect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra or the eyes.
A: Unfortunately, many times there are no symptoms. Up to 85% of women and 50% of men experience no symptoms and are unaware that they are infected. If symptoms do occur in infected women, they may take the form of:
- An abnormal vaginal discharge
- Pain during urination
- An urge to urinate more than usual
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Abdominal pain
- Spotting between periods
- Nausea and fever
If symptoms do occur in infected men, they may take the form of:
- Discharge from the penis
- Pain during urination
- Swollen or tender testicles
Symptoms in both men and women may seem to “come and go”.
Q: Can chlamydia and gonorrhea lead to other health problems?
A: Absolutely. Although symptoms may not have occurred, chlamydia and gonorrhea represent serious health threats. If left untreated, the infection from these diseases can spread into the pelvic area and infect the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries – which, in turn, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID may cause serious damage to the woman’s reproductive organs and can lead to infertility, chronic pelvic pain and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (when a pregnancy occurs outside the uterus). If you are pregnant and infected with either chlamydia or gonorrhea, you may pass the infection to your child at birth, and your child could encounter health complications.
Q: How are chlamydia and gonorrhea diagnosed?
A: There are a variety of laboratory tests that may be used to diagnose chlamydia and gonorrhea. Your physician has chosen a test that will check for the presence of both diseases at the same time. This is the best and quickest method to determine if you are infected with one or both of these diseases. Up to 50% of those patients who test positive for one disease also test positive for the other.
Q: How are chlamydia and gonorrhea treated?
A: Both chlamydia and gonorrhea can be treated successfully with antibiotics. If you test positive for both, your physician may select a combination of antibiotics to treat these diseases simultaneously. Be sure to take all of the pills you are given; although the symptoms may disappear, the actual infection may remain in your system. It is also important to ensure that your sex partner receives treatment in order to prevent you from being re-infected.
Q: Why did your physician choose AmeriPath as your healthcare partner?
A: AmeriPath specializes in gynecologic pathology. This special area of testing includes tissue biopsy, Pap test interpretation and chlamydia and gonorrhea testing. Our pathologists are uniquely qualified to assist your physician with the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Your doctor has selected AmeriPath because of the exceptional quality and service we provide. We have taken steps to ensure that we provide both your physician and you with an accurate, timely result.