Gonorrhea and Chlamydia: About These Tests

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What is it?

These tests use a sample of urine or other body fluid to look for the bacteria that cause these sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The fluid sample can come from the cervix, vagina, rectum, throat, or eyes.

Why is this test done?

These tests may be done to:

  • Find out if symptoms are caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia.
  • Check people who are at high risk of being infected with gonorrhea or chlamydia.
  • Retest people several months after they have been treated for gonorrhea or chlamydia.
  • Check for infection in your newborn if you had a gonorrhea or chlamydia infection at the time of delivery.

How can you prepare for the test?

  • If you are going to have a urine test, do not urinate for at least 1 hour before 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.

How is the test done?

  • For a direct sample, a swab is used to collect body fluid from the cervix, vagina, rectum, throat, or eyes. Your doctor may collect the sample. Or you may be given instructions on how to collect your own 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.

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.
  • If you do have an infection, don't have sexual intercourse for 7 days after you start treatment. And your sex partner(s) should also be treated.

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 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 https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.