What is it?
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are both bacterial infections. They are most common among youth (under the age of 25).
How do I get them?
Chlamydia and gonorrhea can live in fluids in the penis, the vagina, and the anus, as well as in our throat. This is why these infections can be spread by touching mouths to genitals/anus, genital-to-genital contact, and genital-to-anus contact during sex without condoms.
What should I be looking for?
People infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea often do not have any symptoms. This is why it’s so important for sexually active people to use condoms and have regular STI testing. Sometimes, depending on where the infection is, it can cause different symptoms. These are some signs that may appear if you have chlamydia or gonorrhea:
- Genital fluids of a different texture (more watery or more thick)
- Genital fluids of a different colour (whitish to yellow or green)
- Genital fluids leaking out at unusual times
- Burning when peeing
- Pain around the genitals or pain during sex
- Abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding during sex
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- Sore throat after oral sex
How do I get tested?
Chlamydia and gonorrhea testing is done with a urine (pee) sample at a health care provider’s office or clinic.Testing is generally no longer done by swabbing in the penis (urethra) or in the cervix.
Can I get rid of it?
Yes. These infections can be cured with just one dose of antibiotic pills. You should avoid sexual activity for the five days after taking the pills, to give them time to clear the infection. Remember that, even if you’re cured, you can still catch these infections again.
If you have a current partner, it’s important to tell them about the STI, so that you can both be treated at the same time. You’ll also need to write a list of all the people you’ve had sex with recently; you need to tell them to go to a clinic to get tested. If you don’t feel safe telling someone, you can take a look at this pamphlet for information about when a Public Health Nurse can make the call for you (without giving your name or information).
The consequences of not being tested and receiving treatment can be serious. The bacteria can climb higher into the reproductive system, potentially causing long-term and permanent damage to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries, or the penis, prostate, and/or epididymis (inside the testicles/‘balls’). Untreated gonorrhea can also cause potentially serious eye infections for newborn babies born to an infected mother.