Testing for Suspected STI (Chlamydia and Gonorrhea)

Your symptoms suggest that you may have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The most common bacteria that cause STIs are chlamydia and gonorrhea. Both are highly contagious. They are passed by sexual contact with an infected partner. If you might be pregnant, let your provider know. Providing this information will allow you to get the correct exam, testing, and treatment. Treating STIs as soon as possible will make health problems for your baby less likely.

STI symptoms start 1 to 3 weeks after exposure. There is often a discharge from the penis or vagina and a burning feeling when peeing. There could be rectal pain or discharge, and throat pain. Many women with one of these infections will have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all early in the disease. Many men will also have the infection but no symptoms.

Tests have been done to show if you have an infection with chlamydia or gonorrhea. These infections can be treated and cured with antibiotic medicine.

We understand gender is a spectrum. We may use gendered terms to talk about anatomy and health risk. Please use this sheet in a way that works best for you and your provider as you talk about your care.

Home care

Don't have sex until you know that your test result is negative.

Call for the results of your tests. If the test is positive, contact your healthcare provider, local clinic, or local public health department to be treated, or return to our facility.

  • You will be prescribed antibiotic medicine. Be sure to take all of the antibiotic as prescribed until it's gone or you are told to stop. Keep taking it even if you feel better.

  • Both you and your sex partner or partners need to be treated, even if the partner has no symptoms.

  • Don't have sex until both you and your partner or partners have finished all antibiotic medicine and you are told that you are no longer contagious.

  • Get tested for HIV frequently, and whenever a new STI is found. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent picking up HIV, including treatments such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Learn about safe sex practices and use these in the future. The safest sex is with a partner who has tested negative for STIs and only has sex with you. Condoms can help prevent the spread of gonorrhea and chlamydia, but are not a guarantee.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Call as directed for the results of your test. This is to be sure the infection has cleared. Follow up with your provider or the public health department for complete STI screening, including HIV testing, and to consider ways to prevent HIV. For more information about STIs, call the CDC information line at 800-232-4636. Or go to the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/std/ .

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38.0ºC) or higher, or as directed

  • New pain in your lower belly (abdomen) or back, or pain that gets worse

  • Unexpected vaginal bleeding

  • Weakness, dizziness, or fainting

  • Repeated vomiting

  • Inability to pee because of pain

  • Rash or joint pain

  • Painful open sores on the penis, or in or around the outer vagina or rectum

  • Enlarged painful lumps (lymph nodes) in the groin

  • Testicle pain or scrotal swelling in men

  • New symptoms, or symptoms that get worse

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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