New Guidelines For Chlamydia Gonorrhoea And Syphilis
Growing antibiotic resistance forces updates to recommended treatment for sexually transmitted infections
30 AUGUST 2016 | GENEVA New guidelines for the treatment of three common sexually transmitted infections have been issued by the World Health Organization in response to the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are all caused by bacteria and they are generally curable with antibiotics. However, these STIs often go undiagnosed and they are becoming more difficult to treat, with some antibiotics now failing as a result of misuse and overuse. It is estimated that, each year, 131 million people are infected with chlamydia, 78 million with gonorrhoea, and 5.6 million with syphilis.
Resistance of these STIs to the effect of antibiotics has increased rapidly in recent years and has reduced treatment options. Of the three STIs, gonorrhoea has developed the strongest resistance to antibiotics. Strains of multidrug-resistant gonorrhoea that do not respond to any available antibiotics have already been detected. Antibiotic resistance in chlamydia and syphilis, though less common, also exists, making prevention and prompt treatment critical.
The new recommendations are based on the latest available evidence on the most effective treatments for these three sexually transmitted infections.
How Can You Prevent Gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea can be passed on by sharing sex toys. Always cover sex toys with a new condom and wash them after use to reduce your risk of getting gonorrhoea and other STIs.
Having regular STI tests is one of the best ways to look after your sexual health. If you are having sex with multiple partners, its even more important to use condoms and get tested regularly.
The contraceptive pill and other forms of contraception wont protect you from gonorrhoea, neither will PrEP.
Symptoms Of Gonorrhea In Women
Many women donât have noticeable gonorrhea symptoms. If they do, the symptoms can be mild or mimic the symptoms of other infections. Symptoms of gonorrhea in women can resemble yeast infections, other bacterial infections, or urinary tract infectionsâwhich is why itâs important to regularly test for STIs like gonorrhea.
Gonorrhea symptoms in women can include abnormal vaginal dischargeâparticularly a watery, creamy, or slightly green discharge. Women with gonorrhea may also experience frequent urination alone with pain or a burning sensation while urinating. Women can also have spotting between periods or experience heavier-than-usual periods. You might also feel pain during sex or feel sharp pains in the lower abdomen. Gonorrhea in women can also cause a fever or sore throat. Symptoms can also include an itchy or sore anus as well as discharge, bleeding, and painful bowel movements.
If a woman isnât treated for gonorrhea, the infection can damage the reproductive system and increase the risk of getting or transmitting HIV. It can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility. In some rare cases, gonorrhea can spread to the bloodstream and joints, which is known as disseminated gonorrhea.
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In Both Males And Females
Complications that may be seen in anyone include:
- Other STIs. Chlamydia and gonorrhea both make you more susceptible to other STIs, including human immunodeficiency virus . Having chlamydia can also increase your risk of developing gonorrhea, and vice versa.
- Reactive arthritis . Also called Reiters syndrome, this condition results from an infection in your urinary tract or intestines. Symptoms of this condition cause pain, swelling, or tightness in your joints and eyes, and a variety of other symptoms.
- Infertility. Damage to reproductive organs or to sperm can make it more challenging or, in some cases, impossible to become pregnant or to impregnate your partner.
What Happens If Gonorrhea Goes Untreated
If a person is not treated for gonorrhea, there is a good chance complications will occur. Women frequently suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease , a painful condition that occurs when the infection spreads throughout the reproductive organs. PID can lead to sterilization in females. Men may suffer from swelling of the testicles and penis. Both sexes may suffer from arthritis, skin problems and other organ infections caused by the spread of gonorrhea within the body.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Gonorrhea
The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting gonorrhea:
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results
- Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
How Do I Know If I Have Gonorrhea
Some men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all. However, men who do have symptoms, may have:
- A burning sensation when urinating
- A white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis
- Painful or swollen testicles .
Most women with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, even if they dont have any symptoms.Symptoms in women can include:
- Painful or burning sensation when urinating
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding between periods.
Rectal infections may either cause no symptoms or cause symptoms in both men and women that may include:
- Painful bowel movements.
You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD, such as an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when urinating, or bleeding between periods.
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How Do You Get Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
- Engaging with multiple sexual partners in one year The more partners who engage with, the more likely you will be exposed to an infected person and contract an STD.
- Having unprotected sex Condoms can reduce the likelihood of you contracting an STD however, condoms are never 100% effective. If you are concerned you may have an STD, you should get tested regardless of whether you used a condom in your last sexual encounter.
- Younger than 24 Individuals younger than 24 tend to practice unprotected sex more often than other age groups and are less likely to be tested.
- Previous diagnosis of an STD Having already contracted an STD increases your bodys susceptibility to contracting another STD. It can be common for those who have contracted chlamydia to be at risk for contracting gonorrhea or HIV. If you contract gonorrhea, you are at a greater risk of contracting HIV.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
There is a wide range of sexually-transmitted diseases that every sexually active adult should be aware of, but two of the best-known and most common are chlamydia and gonorrhea. While both gonorrhea and chlamydia can be cured with proper medical treatment, recognizing the signs early is critical in obtaining timely care. While regular STD testing is one of the only no-fail methods for detecting STDs, being aware of the typical symptoms can be very helpful as well.
Here is a useful guide to the most common symptoms of chlamydia and gonorrhea, giving you a handy resource for supporting optimal sexual health. If you notice one or more of the symptoms below, its important to seek proper testing and treatment immediately.
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How Is Each Condition Transmitted
Both STIs are caused by bacterial infections that are transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, meaning sex without using a condom, dental dam, or another protective barrier between you and your partner during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Its also possible to contract the infection through sexual contact that doesnt involve penetration. For example, if your genitals come into contact with the genitals of someone whos contracted the infection, its possible to develop the condition.
Both STIs can also be contracted through protected sex with a condom or other barrier if you dont use protection properly, or if the barrier breaks.
Either STI can be contracted even if you arent showing visible symptoms. Both STIs can also be transmitted to a child at birth if the mother has either condition.
Youre at increased risk for developing these and other STIs if you:
- have multiple sexual partners at one time
- dont properly use protection, such as condoms, female condoms, or dental dams
- regularly use douches which can irritate your vagina, killing healthy vaginal bacteria
- have contracted an STI before
Sexual assault can also increase your risk of both chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Both STIs can be diagnosed using similar diagnostic methods. Your doctor may use one or more of these tests to ensure that the diagnosis is accurate and that the right treatment is given:
Can Chlamydia Turn Into Gonorrhea
No, chlamydia on its own cannot turn into gonorrhea as they are caused by two different bacteria.
It does happen that people contract and carry both chlamydia and gonorrhea bacteria, so you can have them at the same time. Also, having one increases your likelihood of contracting another thus, it is always important to be treated for both.
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Chlamydia Vs Gonorrhea: Whats The Difference
Both chlamydia and gonorrhea can be completely asymptomatic in a large number of people. According to the CDC, chlamydia is more prevalent than gonorrhea, with 1,800,000 new cases of chlamydia reported in the United States in 2019 vs. 600,000 cases of gonorrhea.
The discharge caused by chlamydia is more likely to have a strong, unpleasant smell and a cloudy appearance. Gonorrhea, on the other hand, tends to cause discharge that is white, yellow, or greenish.
Complications of both chlamydia and gonorrhea can include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Epididymitis in men, which can lead to infertility in rare cases
Unlike gonorrhea, chlamydia can cause reactive arthritis in some cases. Untreated chlamydia eye infections can also lead to a chronic form of conjunctivitis, called trachoma.
According to the WHO, trachoma can cause irreversible blindness and it has been estimated to affect 137 million people around the world, mainly in endemic areas.
Untreated gonorrhea, on the other hand, can spread to the joints, skin, and valves of the heart. When it affects the joints, gonorrhea can cause a condition called septic arthritis. In very rare cases, gonorrhea can cause meningitis or endocarditis .
Gonorrhea Symptoms + 9 Natural Ways To Relieve Them
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 820,000 new cases of gonorrhea occur each year in the United States, with 570,000 of the cases being in young people ages 15 to 24. Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that there are currently 78 million people infected.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria that is spread through contact with the penis, vagina, anus or mouth of an infected partner. During childbirth, an infected mother can also transmit gonorrhea to the baby.
In a recent release from the WHO, gonorrhea is becoming more and more difficult to treat. In fact, three new superbug strains have been identified that cannot be killed by antibiotics currently on the market. These strains have been found in Japan, Spain and France. It isnt if these strains spread across the globe, it is when. In addition, antibiotic resistant bacteria have been identified in an additional 77 countries across the world.
As of November 2017, the first case of ceftriaxone-resistant gonorrhea was documented in North America in Quebec, Canada. Ceftriaxone is an injectable antibiotic and is part of the current standard gonorrhea treatment. Experts are concerned that treatment is becoming less and less effective and that there may come a point where older antibiotics with harsh side effects may be necessary.
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What Is Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
Both gonorrhea and chlamydia are common sexually transmitted infections occurring in men and women. So how do you get gonorrhea and chlamydia? They are transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone whoâs infected.
Both infections are caused by bacteriaâChlamydia trachomatis in cases of chlamydia and Neisseria gonorrhoeae in cases of gonorrhea.
Although gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection, chlamydia has a higher prevalenceâwith over 1.7 million cases of chlamydia reported in the United States in 2017.
Risk factors for getting gonorrhea and chlamydia are often identical and include:
- Having multiple sex partners. You’re more likely to be exposed to someone with a sexually transmitted infection if you have multiple sex partners.
- Unprotected sex. Condom usage during sex substantially reduces the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection, so your risk is higher if you have unprotected sex.
- Having other STIs: If you already have a sexually transmitted infection, you can be at a greater risk of getting another STI. For example, if you contract chlamydia, you could be more likely to contract gonorrhea.
Signs Of Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that most women who have chlamydia or gonorrhea will have no signs. Those women who do have signs may mistake them for a UTI or vaginal infection because they are so mild. These signs might include one or more of the following:
- Painful or frequent urination
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods
- Yellow vaginal discharge
- Rectal bleeding or pain
Again, most women will have no symptoms, but if symptoms do occur, they will appear two to three weeks after the time of infection.
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How Can I Prevent Getting Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
Get some information about their sexual history. Get some information about any recently treated diseases. Have safe sex with right utilization of a condom. Utilize a condom each time you have vaginal, oral, or butt-centric sex. Get tried for explicitly sent diseases in the event that you or your partner are not mono
How Do I Test For Gonorrhoea
You can get tested for gonorrhoea even if you dont have any symptoms.
For women, a healthcare professional will usually take a swab from either the lower part of the womb or the vagina. Men usually need to provide a urine sample and/or a swab taken from the tip of the penis . If you have had anal or oral sex, you may have a swab taken from the anus or throat.
If you test positive for gonorrhoea, it is important to tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Your healthcare professional can advise you on this. You should also be tested for other STIs.
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If The Clap Not Treated
Gonorrhea infection can spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, causing damage & serious problems.
In women, it can cause:
- life-threatening complications such as ectopic pregnancy
- blocked fallopian tubes , which can result in reduced fertility or infertility
- long-term pelvic pain
In men, it can lead to:
- painful inflammation of the testicles, which may result in reduced fertility or sterility
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Image Credit: getty, fizkes
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How To Get Tested
A person can meet with a doctor to get a diagnosis for either of these infections.
The doctor will collect bodily fluids to test for the infection. The test can use either a urine sample or a sample from the vagina or penis, which a doctor will collect with a cotton swab.
Most health insurance plans, including Medicare, cover sexually transmitted infection testing completely. If a person does not have health insurance, they can go to a free clinic, their local health departments STI clinic, a student health center, or an urgent care clinic.
Because both chlamydia and gonorrhea can present with no symptoms, it is important that people who are sexually active get tested regularly.
After a doctor has determined which infection a person has contracted, they will prescribe an antibiotic.
People should take the full course of antibiotics and wait an additional 7 days before having sex again. This helps prevent a person from spreading the infection to another person and possibly reinfecting themselves later.
A person can contract both chlamydia and gonorrhea again, even if they have already experienced and treated the STI before.
How Is Gonorrhea Treated
Health care providers treat gonorrhea with an antibiotic. It is given as a shot in the doctor’s office. It is important to get tested again 3 months after treatment to make sure the infection is cured .
All sexual partners from the past 2 months need treatment too, even if they don’t have signs of gonorrhea.
If someone still has symptoms after treatment, they may need treatment with different antibiotics. Or they may have been infected with gonorrhea again.
You should not have sex again until:
- at least 7 days after you and your sexual partner take the antibiotics
- you and your sexual partner do not have signs of gonorrhea
People can get gonorrhea again if:
- Their partners aren’t treated.
- They get treated but then have sex with someone else who has gonorrhea.