Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

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
  • Fever
  • 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.