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Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis

What are gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis?
What causes gonorrhea and chlamydia?
Where do these infections occur?
What are the symptoms of gonorrhea and chlamydia?
How are gonorrhea and chlamydia diagnosed?
What complications are associated with infection with…
How is infection with gonorrhea and chlamydia treated?
What causes syphilis?
How is syphilis spread?
What are symptoms of syphilis?
How is syphilis diagnosed?
What are complications of syphilis?
How is syphilis treated?
Can these diseases be prevented?
Is screening for these diseases recommended?

What are gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis?

  • Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • These three STDs can cause serious, long-term problems if they are not treated
    • Particularly for teenagers and young women

What causes gonorrhea and chlamydia?

  • Both gonorrhea and chlamydia are caused by bacteria
  • The bacteria are passed from one person to another through vaginal, anal, or oral sex

Where do these infections occur?

  • Gonorrhea and chlamydia infections can occur in the mouth, reproductive organs, urethra, and rectum
  • In women, the most common place is the cervix (the opening of the uterus)

At what age do these infections most commonly occur?

  • Although gonorrhea and chlamydia can occur at any age, women 25 years and younger are at greater risk

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea and chlamydia?

  • Women with gonorrhea or chlamydia often have no symptoms
  • When symptoms from either infection do occur, they may show up 2 days to 3 weeks after infection
  • They may be very mild and can be mistaken for a urinary tract or vaginal infection
  • The most common symptoms in women include the following:
    • A yellow vaginal discharge
    • Painful or frequent urination
    • Vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods
    • Rectal bleeding, discharge, or pain

How are gonorrhea and chlamydia diagnosed?

  • Your health care provider may take a sample of cells from your throat, cervix, urethra, or rectum
    • As this is where the infection may occur
    • Gonorrhea and chlamydia can also be detected with a urine test

What complications are associated with infection with…

  • Both gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
    • This occurs when bacteria move from the vagina and cervix upward into uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes
    • Once infected it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before PID symptoms develop

How is infection with gonorrhea and chlamydia treated?

  • Gonorrhea and chlamydia are treated with antibiotics

What causes syphilis?

  • Syphilis also is caused by bacteria
  • It differs from gonorrhea and chlamydia because it occurs in stages
  • It is more easily spread in some stages than in others

How is syphilis spread?

  • The bacteria that cause syphilis enter the body through a cut or sore on the skin
  • These sores commonly occur on the vulva, vagina, anus, or penis
  • Which means syphilis is most often spread through sexual contact
  • It can be spread by touching the rash, warts, or infected blood during the secondary stage of infection
  • Syphilis sores are called chancres

What are symptoms of syphilis?

  • Symptoms of syphilis differ by stage:
  • `Primary stage ? Syphilis first appears as a painless chancre
    • This sore goes away without treatment in 3?6 weeks
  • Secondary stage ? The next stage begins as the chancre is healing
    • Or several weeks after the chancre has disappeared, when a rash may appear
    • The rash usually appears on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands
    • Flat warts may be seen on the vulva
    • During this stage, there may be flu-like symptoms
    • This stage is highly contagious
  • Latent and late stages ? The rash and other symptoms go away in a few weeks or months
    • However, the disease is still present in the body
    • If untreated, the disease may return in its most serious form years later

How is syphilis diagnosed?

  • In the early stages, discharge from open sores is examined to see if syphilis bacteria are present
  • In later stages, a blood test also can be done to check for antibodies to the bacteria

What are complications of syphilis?

  • Late-stage syphilis is a serious illness
  • Medical symptoms observed include:
    • Heart problems
    • Neurologic problems
    • And tumors may occur
      • Leading to brain damage, blindness, paralysis, and even death
  • The genital sores make it easier to become infected with and transmit human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

How is syphilis treated?

  • Syphilis is treated with antibiotics
  • If it is caught and treated early, long-term problems can be prevented
  • The length of treatment depends on how long a person has had the disease

Can these diseases be prevented?

  • You can take steps to avoid getting gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis
  • These safeguards also help protect against other STDs:
    • Use a condom
      • Both male and female condoms are sold over-the-counter in drug stores
      • They help protect against STDs
    • Limit your sexual partners
      • The more sexual partners you have over a lifetime, the higher your risk of getting STDs
    • Know your partner
      • Ask about your partner?s sexual history
      • Ask whether he or she has had STDs
      • Even if your partner has no symptoms, he or she still may be infected
    • Avoid contact with any sores on the genitals

Is screening for these diseases recommended?

  • Annual screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia is recommended for certain age groups
    • Teenagers and women aged 25 years and younger who are sexually active
    • And for women older than 25 years if they have risk factors
  • Teenagers and women also should be tested for syphilis if they are at high risk of this STD

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