Please note that information in this section is intended as educational information only, and is geared towards sexually active individuals with a vagina. Please see the resources section for links to additional information, and sources of medical advice.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections most frequently affect the genitals, but can also affect other areas like the rectum, throat and eyes. Many people who have vaginas with chlamydia and gonorrhea infections have no symptoms and these bacteria are most common among young people aged 15-25. Both infections have been on the rise in Canada.
Those who are at risk for one infection are usually at risk for the other, so molecular diagnostic lab tests usually test for both of the infections at the same time.
About 50% of men and 70% of people who have vaginas do not experience symptoms of chlamydia infection. Those infected without symptoms can still experience long term consequences and may be spreading the disease without knowing it.
Chlamydia infections are more common in people who have vaginas, especially younger people.
In 2012, there were 103,716 chlamydia infections reported. But because most infections do not have symptoms, the real number of cases is likely much higher. A breakdown of infections by province is below:
About 50% of people who have vaginas do not experience symptoms of gonorrhea infection. Those infected without symptoms can still experience long term consequences and may be spreading the disease without knowing it.
Gonorrhea infections are most common among younger people.
In 2012, there were 8,241 gonorrhea infections reported. But because most infections do not have symptoms, the real number of cases is likely much higher. A breakdown of infections by province is below:
Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be transmitted in multiple ways:
When symptoms do occur, it can often take some time to show up.
Symptoms for either chlamydia or gonorrhea infections can include:
Untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea infections in people who have vaginas can progress and spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes. When the infection spreads, this is called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to:
About 100,000 Canadian people who have vaginas develop symptomatic cases of PID every year, but an estimated 2/3 of cases are recognized. About 10-15% of people who have vaginas at a reproductive age are expected to have one episode of PID.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections in pregnant people can cause:
Untreated chlamydia infections can also lead to Luphogranuloma Venerum (LGV), which can cause ulcerating sores or lumps, inside or outside of the genitals.
If not treated, clamydia can also cause rashes, sores and joint pain. Untreated gonorrhea can cause arthritis or severe infection in the blood.
Chlamydia infections are usually treated with antibiotics. The course and duration of the treatment depends on how severe the infection is. Less serious infections are treated with a dose or course of antibiotics. More serious infections including PID could require hospitalization and treatment by IV antibiotics.
Gonorrhea infections are usually treated with dual therapy antibiotics including:
In some cases, gonorrhea has become resistant to antibiotics, and there is a worry that the current treatment may eventually no longer work in the future.
When a chlamydia or gonorrhea infection is identified, other follow ups in addition to treatment are:
Ways to prevent chlamydia or gonorrhea infections, or more serious consequences are: