Anyone who is sexually active could get a sexually transmitted infection (STI). STIs are really common. In fact, more than 1 million people get an STI every day. Here’s what you need to know about two of the most common STIs: chlamydia and gonorrhea.
What Are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea?
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are sometimes called “the clap” or the “drip.” You can get STIs from having any type of sex—vaginal, anal or oral. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause infections in your genital area, rectum or your throat. If you’re having sex, you’re at risk of these infections, especially if you don’t use condoms.
The difference between chlamydia and gonorrhea is the type of bacteria that cause them. Chlamydia is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. Gonorrhea is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium, also known as gonococcus. In the United States, chlamydia is more common than gonorrhea.
What Are the Symptoms of Chlamydia vs Gonorrhea?
The tricky thing about being infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea is that it is possible to have no symptoms at all. If you do have symptoms, both infections can cause:
- Pain, itching, or burning when urinating
- Pelvic pain
- Discharge from the penis or vagina
- Painful or swollen testicles
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- Anal symptoms such as pain, bleeding or discharge
- Painful sex
How will you know if you have chlamydia or gonorrhea? You may or may not experience symptoms, so getting STI screening is important. Getting screened for STIs can help diagnose infections early before they can cause other issues. Screening may include a urine sample or a cotton swab in the vagina, rectum or throat. Once you are diagnosed, you can get treated. You can get STI testing at your nearest NJFPL health center.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be completely cured with prescription antibiotics. It’s important to get treated because if you don’t, you could have serious, long-term health problems.
These potential health problems include:
- Scar tissue that blocks your fallopian tubes and makes it hard to get pregnant
- A dangerous pregnancy that occurs outside the womb (known as an ectopic)
- Problems being able to get pregnant
- Long-term pelvic or abdominal pain
NJFPL health centers provide affordable, accessible and confidential STI testing and treatment. There is at least one health center in every county of New Jersey, and the services are low or no-cost. If you are experiencing symptoms of an STI or if you are sexually active and want to get tested find a health center for STI testing today.