Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Quick Facts

  • Are there any hotlines where I could receive free, anonymous advice? Yes—the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a hotline specifically for STD questions, and they can also help you locate the nearest clinic. The toll-free number is 1-800-227-8922 or 1-800-342-2437, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may also call us Monday through Friday 8am-5pm at 508-831-5520.
  • How are chlamydia and gonorrhea transmitted? Chlamydia and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted diseases that are generally transmitted through sexual contact (oral, vaginal, or anal) with an infected partner.
  • Are chlamydia and gonorrhea curable? Yes. If you are infected, your doctor will give you a prescription for antibiotics. Be sure to take all of the medicine, abstain from sexual activity, and limit your number of sexual partners.
  • Who is most at risk for contracting chlamydia? Anyone who has had sexual contact (vaginal, oral, or anal) with an infected individual is at risk. Young women have the highest rates of chlamydia. Women ages 15-19 represent 46% of infected individuals and women ages 20-24 represent 33% of infections each year.
  • .How will I know if I have chlamydia? Approximately 75% of women and 50% of men do not experience any symptoms at all. Men and women who do have symptoms may experience abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis while urinating.
  • What can happen if I do not get tested and I have chlamydia? In infected women, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In infected men, chlamydia can result in pain or swelling in the scrotal area. These complications can lead to infertility.
  • What does PID do? PID causes scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can block and prevent fertilization from occurring. Researchers now estimate that 100,000 women each year become infertile because of PID.
  • Who should get tested for chlamydia? It is recommended that anyone who has had more than one sexual partner, especially women under the age of 25, be tested regularly for chlamydia.
  • What happens when you are tested for chlamydia? This test does not require a pelvic exam or swabbing of the penis—all that’s required is a urine sample, which is then sent to a lab.
  • What is gonorrhea? Gonorrhea is a bacterium that grows in warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, such as the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and urethra (urine canal). It can also spread to other areas of the body including the mouth, throat, and rectum.
  • What are the symptoms men will experience? Men will experience a burning sensation when urinating, and/or a yellowish discharge from the penis. They may also experience swollen testicles.
  • What are the symptoms women will experience? Early symptoms for women are mild. Some infected women do not experience any symptoms at all. Women who do have symptoms will experience a painful, burning sensation when urinating, and/or a vaginal discharge that can be yellowish or bloody.
  • Who is at risk for becoming infected with gonorrhea? Any person who is sexually active can be infected. The highest rates of infection are among 15- to 19-year-old women and 20- to 24-year-old men. This puts the college-aged population in the highest risk group.
  • How common is gonorrhea? Approximately 650,000 people in the United States are infected with gonorrhea each year.
  • Can gonorrhea cause complications? Yes. If left untreated, gonorrhea in women can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Many women with PID experience no symptoms. When women do have symptoms, they include strong abdominal pain and fever. PID can also result in infertility. In men, gonorrhea can cause epididymitis, which is a painful condition of the testicles that can lead to infertility. Without proper treatment, gonorrhea can affect the prostate and can lead to scarring inside the urethra, making it difficult to urinate.
  • How can I get tested? This test does not require a pelvic exam or swabbing of the penis—all that is required is a simple urine test.
  • What is the treatment for gonorrhea? If you are infected, your doctor will give you antibiotics. Be sure to take all of the prescribed medication.
  • How can I prevent contracting gonorrhea? Use condoms every time you have sex, but be aware that condoms will not prevent the transmission of all STDs. If your partner has a sore or lesion in an area not covered by the condom, transmission can still occur. Limiting the number of people you have sex with can also reduce your chances of becoming infected.
  • What should I do if I test positive? Tell your partner you have gonorrhea and encourage them to get tested. Avoid sexual contact until both of you seek treatment.
  • What can I do to prevent getting an STD? The best prevention is abstinence, but if you are going to have sex, it is important to always use a condom and limit the number of people you have sexual contact with. It is also a good idea to talk to anyone who you have sexual contact with about their sexual history. If either one of you are unsure about your respective histories, go to a clinic together and get tested.