Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Testing

The Basics

Chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis) and Gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) are bacterial infections that cause common sexually transmitted diseases. Both can be successfully treated with antibiotics. Reinfection is likely without correct condom use or abstaining from sexual activity. Sexually active women under the age of 25, with or without symptoms, need to be tested at least once a year as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Women over the age of 25 and all men need to be tested at least once a year for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea if they have more than one sex partner or have a new sex partner.

Most women and men infected with Chlamydia and Gonorrhea have no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they can appear up to six weeks after exposure during sexual intercourse. Symptoms depend on the infection site: vaginal, anal, mouth, or pharynx. If left untreated in women, both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can result experiencing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) leading to infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy. While occurring in both men and women, reactive arthritis (arthritis, urethral inflammation, and conjunctivitis) is more common in untreated men. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, when untreated in pregnant women, can infect newborns through exposure to the infectious bacteria in the birth canal during vaginal childbirth. Co-infection of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea is common. Co-testing for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea is recommended.


The Virology/Serology Unit uses a nucleic acid amplified test (NAAT) to detect Chlamydia (C. trachomatis) and Gonorrhea (N. gonorrhoeae) in a single urogenital specimen. See the Specimen Submission Guidelines (PDF) and the Resources section for addition information on Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing.

  1. Chlamydia
  2. Gonorrhea
  3. Resources

More About Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a Gram-negative, intracellular, obligate bacteria that survives and thrives in the hostile environment of its human host. The Chlamydia genital track variant causes the sexually transmitted bacterial infection. The Chlamydia trachoma variant causes blindness. The Chlamydia lympho granuloma venereum variant, commonly diagnosed in HIV-infected men, causes urogenital or anorectal infections. Even though most people with Chlamydia infections have no physical symptoms, they are experiencing subclinical infections - including subclinical PID - which still harms their bodies. Subclinical infection makes screening essential for women of reproductive age.

Pregnant women should be tested at the first prenatal visit and during the third trimester as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When untreated in pregnant women, Chlamydia can cause miscarriages and premature births. Chlamydia-infected newborns can experience pneumonia or ophthalmia neonatorum (conjunctivitis), with rectal or genital Chlamydia infections possible up to one year of age. Chlamydia in preadolescent and adolescent children is a sign of sexual abuse and is taken very seriously.