Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are common sexually transmitted diseases. They are both bacterial infections that can be acquired by sexual contact or by mother to newborn contact at birth. Women infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea may have discharge, painful urination, lower abdominal pain, or bleeding between menstrual periods. Men infected with chlamydia may have some discharge. Men infected with gonorrhea may have discharge as well as painful and frequent urination, or swollen genitalia. With 75% of infected women and 50% of infected men showing no signs of infection, chlamydia is largely asymptomatic which can lead to unknowingly infecting a partner or to not treating the infection. Gonorrhea may also be asymptomatic for both genders as well. Both infections can be easily treated with antibiotics. However if left untreated, the infections can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease or cause complications during pregnancy in women. In men, untreated infections may cause inflammation of the testis and prostate or infertility.
In 1996, there were 1,201 newly reported chlamydia cases and 93 newly reported gonorrhea cases among Utah women. Whereas, in 2005, there were 3,081 newly reported chlamydia cases and 319 newly reported gonorrhea cases among Utah women. (See Fig. 1 and 2) From 1996 to 2005, there has been an increase of over 100% in the number of reported chlamydia cases in Utah women; and an increase of over 200% in the number of reported gonorrhea cases in Utah women. These increases may be due to better screening tests and reporting, more people being tested, and possibly more disease in our communities. The higher number of reported infections among women than men may be due to the higher occurrence of screenings among women. The age group most afflicted by gonorrhea and chlamydia nationwide and in Utah are the 15-29 year olds. (See Fig. 3) In 2005, 68% of Chlamydia cases in Utah were among those between 15 and 24 years old.
To reduce the increasing number of Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections, regular screening and examinations as well as latex condom usage are advised for those at risk. If being treated for an infection, avoid sexual intercourse until treatment is complete. Monogamous sexual relationships also lessen the risk of infections. However, the most effective prevention measure is abstinence.
Many of the County Health Departments throughout Utah have an STD clinic or offer STD testing. For more information, please visit the Utah Department of Health STD testing site at health.utah.gov/cdc/std/std_test.htm or call the Utah Department of Health at 801-538-6171.
- Utah Department of Health. Available online at http://health.utah.gov. Accessed January 5, 2007. Search Keywords: Chlamydia Fact Sheet; Gonorrhea Fact Sheet.
- Utah Department of Health. Available online at http://ibis.health.utah.gov. Accessed January 5, 2007. Search Keywords: Chlamydia Profile.
- The National Women’s Health Information Center. Available online at http://www.womenshealth.gov/. Accessed January 31, 2007. Search Keywords: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea