What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia can be transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia.  The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection.  Infection is very common among teens and young adults, especially sexually active teenage girls and young women.  This is because teenage and young adult women do not have a fully matured cervix, which increases their susceptibility to infection.

Complications Of Chlamydia

  • Individuals who have chlamydia are at a higher risk of having other STIs.
  • In women, untreated infection can spread into the uterus (womb) or fallopian tubes (tubes that carry fertilized eggs from the ovaries to the uterus) and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) opens in a new tab.
  • Women are at risk for infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain associated with PID.
  • In men, chlamydia can lead to infections in the prostate gland as well as the epidiymis (ducts attached to the testicles where sperm mature and are stored) causing pain and fever.
  • In rare cases, chlamydia can render men infertile.
  • Babies who are born to infected mothers can get chlamydial infections in their eyes and respiratory tracts. Chlamydia is a leading cause of early infant pneumonia and conjunctivitis in newborns.
  • Rarely, genital chlamydia infection can cause reactive arthritis that can be accompanied by skin lesions and inflammation of the eye and urethra (Reiter’s syndrome opens in a new tab).

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus, fallopian tubes in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in both women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus. Gonorrhea can also be spread from mother to baby during delivery.  Any sexually active person can be infected with gonorrhea, and the greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection.

Complications Of Gonorrhea

  • In women, gonorrhea is a common cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may result in a greater risk of pregnancy complications or infertility.
  • In men, gonorrhea can cause epididymitis opens in a new tab, a painful condition of the ducts attached to the testicles that can lead to sterility if left untreated.
  • If a pregnant woman has gonorrhea, she may give the infection to her baby as the baby passes through the birth canal during delivery. This can cause blindness or a life-threatening respiratory infection in the baby.
  • Gonorrhea can spread to the blood or joints and cause arthritis and heart disease; these conditions can be life threatening.
  • People with gonorrhea can more easily contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.