Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia are common bacterial infections which are sexually transmitted. They are most often found in the mouth, rectum, vagina or urethra. There are several different ways you can test for Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia. The most common of these is a PCR test (Poly-Urese Chain Reaction) which is commonly called a pee in the pot test. This will be used to check if there is Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea and the urinary tracts. Alternatively a self swab is a common method of testing for infection. You will be asked to insert a long, thin, cotton bud like, piece of equipment into your vulva or rectum and rub it along the walls of these. These will check for infections in these areas. Finally a clinician (a consultant, nurse, doctor or GP) will provide you with an oral swab which they will do to check for Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia in the throat.

NEISSERIA GONORRHOEAE BACTERIA in high details with beautiful colors
NEISSERIA GONORRHOEAE BACTERIA

Unlike Balanitis, Cystitis, Non-Specific Urethritis, Proctitis and Thrush, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea are sexually transmitted and must be passed from one person to another.

Below you will find a fact checker to help you identify what these STIs look like, how they are transmitted, symptoms of them, treatment and curability.

Overview:

Gonorrhoea

  • Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection, transmitted sexually, which can be found in the eyes, mouth, penis, anus, rectum or vagina.
  • Gonorrhoea is quite common an affects roughly 500 people a year in Northern Ireland. It is particularly common in Gay and Bisexual men who have accounted for between 50 and 60% of infections of Gonorrhoea. Cases of Gonorrhoea have tripled since 2010

Causes of Gonorrhoea:

  • Sexual contact, either penetrative vaginal, anal or oral sex (mutual masturbation is not a transmission route)
  • Sharing of uncleaned sex toys which have been used by someone who does have Gonorrhoea

Symptoms of Gonorrhoea:

  • An unusual green/yellow discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Frequent need to use the bathroom
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Pain when ejaculating
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Painful/swollen testicles
  • Heavier periods or bleeding between periods

Treatment for Gonorrhoea:

  • Single dose of injectable antibiotics called doxycycline. This is usually injected intramuscular to the gluts (your bum muscles)
  • You will be called back for a test of cure for Gonorrhoea a few weeks after your initial treatment

Is Gonorrhoea curable:

  • Gonorrhoea is treatable and curable. However, regardless of whether you have been treated before, you can always be reinfected with Gonorrhoea and it is important to use protection

Do I need to contact my previous sexual partners:

  • Yes – Gonorrhoea, particularly in Gay and Bisexual men, is on the verge of exploding as an infection at the minute. It is really important that if you do not feel confident talking to partners about getting tested if you may have infected them, that you are able to provide the GUM clinic with the contact details of your partners so they can be tested. The clinician will not mention you by name. Instead they will say something like ‘we have reason to believe you have come into contact with Gonorrhoea and we would like to offer you a test’.

Chlamydia

  • Chlamydia is the most common STI in Northern Ireland and across the world. It is a bacterial infection which in many people, particularly women, remains symptomless (9 out of 10 women will not exhibit symptoms). As such Chlamydia infections in Northern Ireland number around 1500 and 2000 infections per year, the highest of any STI
  • Chlamydia which can be found in the eyes, mouth, penis, anus, rectum or vagina.

Causes of Chlamydia:

  • Sexual contact, either penetrative vaginal, anal or oral sex
  • Direct genital contact with your partner
  • Sharing of uncleaned sex toys which have been used by someone who does have Chlamydia

Symptoms of Chlamydia:

  • An unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or rectum
  • Burning and itching in the genital area (for men)
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Pain when ejaculating
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Painful/swollen testicles
  • Heavier periods or bleeding between periods
  • Abdominal pain in women during vaginal sex
  • Bleeding during or after sex
  • Conjunctivitis (caused usually by infected fluids such as semen or vaginal fluid making contact with the eyes)

Treatment for Chlamydia:

  • A single dose of an antibiotic called Azithromycin or a tableted form of Doxycycline (two tablets a day for a week)
  • You will generally be offered Chlamydia medication if it has been suspected but not yet confirmed as Chlamydia is a relatively insidious and tricky bacteria to detect
  • You will always be offered medication should your partner test positive as a preventative measure

Is Chlamydia curable:

  • Chlamydia is treatable and curable. However, regardless of whether you have been treated before, you can always be reinfected with Chlamydia and it is important to use protection

Do I need to contact my previous sexual partners:

  • Yes – Gay and Bisexual men are disproportionately affected by the majority of STIs, including Chlamydia (they make up 10% of Chlamydia infections each year in NI
  • It is really important that if you do not feel confident talking to partners about getting tested if you may have infected them, that you are able to provide the GUM clinic with the contact details of your partners so they can be tested. The clinician will not mention you by name. Instead they will say something like ‘we have reason to believe you have come into contact with Chlamydia and we would like to offer you a test’.

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