The Facts

What are chlamydia and gonorrhea?

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). You get chlamydia or gonorrhea by having sex (vaginal, oral or anal) with somebody who has them. Both diseases are caused by bacteria. This means that they can be cured with the right medication. It also means that people can get infected over and over again. It is possible to get both chlamydia and gonorrhea at the same time. People usually do not know that they have chlamydia or gonorrhea because most of the time there are no symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to get tested for them. If you’re sexually active, you should get tested once a year or right away if you have any symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a chlamydia or gonorrhea infection?

The only way to know is to get tested! Most people have NO symptoms and so do not know anything is wrong.

If you do have symptoms of either chlamydia or gonorrhea, you might have:

  • A white, yellow, green, or clear drip from the vagina, or anus.
  • More flow (discharge) from the vagina.
  • Burning or hurting when you pee.
  • Pain in the lower belly or back, sometimes with a fever.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Bleeding after sex or between periods.

What could untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea do to my body?

If you don't get these diseases treated with the right medicines, they can:

  • Cause pain in your lower belly or back.
  • Make it impossible to have babies when you want to.
  • Lead to serious problems during pregnancy.
  • Lead to ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside the uterus or womb, which can be life-threatening).
  • Spread to your baby during birth causing serious damage to their eyes, lungs, and joints.  
  • Cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) - a serious infection of the reproductive organs.
  • Make it easier to get and give HIV-the virus that causes AIDS.

How many people have chlamydia and gonorrhea in Alameda County?

A lot! In 2011, there were over 6,000 reported cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in Alameda County women. The actual number of cases is much higher, because not everyone with chlamydia and gonorrhea gets tested.

How can I protect myself from chlamydia and gonorrhea?

  • The only sure way to prevent getting chlamydia or gonorrhea is to not have sex, or to have sex with someone who only has sex with you and has been tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Using a condom every time you have sex will help protect you from getting an STD. Condoms also help to prevent pregnancy.
  • If you have sex, you may want to limit the number of people you have sex with. Remember that each time you have sex with somebody, you can get an STD that your partner got from any of their other partners.
  • If you are having sex, get a chlamydia and gonorrhea test every year, or whenever you switch partners.
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