Gonorrhea and Chlamydia: About These Tests

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What is it?

You can have a test to find out if you have gonorrhea or chlamydia. This kind of test checks for the bacteria that cause these sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

There are different ways to test for the bacteria. Most tests use either a urine sample or a sample of body fluid. A fluid sample can come from inside the tip of the penis or from inside the rectum or vagina.

Why is this test done?

These tests may be done to:

  • Find out if your symptoms are caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia.
  • Find out if you have one of these infections even though you don't have symptoms.

How can you prepare for the test?

  • If you are a woman, do not douche or use vaginal creams or medicines for at least 24 hours before the test.
  • If you are going to have a urine test, do not urinate for 2 hours before the test.

What happens during the test?

  • To get a sample from the urethra or rectum, the doctor will put a small swab into the tip of the penis or inside the rectum.
  • To get a sample from the vagina, the doctor will first put a speculum into the vagina. A speculum is a tool to spread apart the walls of the vagina. Then he or she will use a small swab to get the fluid sample.
  • For a urine sample, you will collect the urine that comes out when you first start to urinate. Don't wipe the genital area clean before you urinate.

What else should you know about the test?

  • If you think you may have chlamydia or gonorrhea, don't have sexual intercourse until you get your test results. And you may want to have tests for other STIs, such as HIV.
  • If you do have an infection, don't have sexual intercourse for 7 days after you start treatment.
  • If you have an infection, your sex partner(s) should also be treated.

How long does the test take?

  • The test will take a few minutes.

What happens after the test?

  • You will be able to go home right away.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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