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Ask Dr. K
HOW ARE CHLAMYDIA AND GONORRHEA DETECTED?

QUESTION
If someone is primarily practicing unsafe oral sex—can STDs (like chlamydia or gonorrhea) be detected vaginally or anally? What I am getting at here is, if someone who never allows a penis to be inserted into vagina or anus—how can they test positive anally for gonorrhea or chlamydia?

Conversely—someone who never practices oral—cannot have oral gonorrhea or chlamydia from getting it vaginally or anally. Correct?

Also, can someone infected orally have chlamydia and gonorrhea in their urinary tract? 

ANSWER
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are bacterial infections. The bacteria can live and grow in the mouth, eyes, throat, anus, penis or cervix (inside the vagina). Symptoms differ depending on the site of infection but most infections are asymptomatic (people don’t know they carry the bacteria). The bacteria does not travel, however. If a person becomes infected in the throat from performing oral sex, the bacteria will not affect the genitals or urinary tract. Likewise, a person will not be infected in the throat if they have not given oral sex.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are tested for by using a swab to take a sample of fluid and cells from the throat, urethra, vagina, cervix, anus or with a urine test. An infected person will test positively when tests are performed in the areas where the bacteria are. That is, a urine test will find infection in the urethra (the tube where urine comes out) but a urine test would not find infection in the throat or anus. A swab would have to be collected from those areas to find infection in each of those sites.

To get tested for STDs, visit the City Clinic or call the CDC National Hotline for places near you: 1-800-CDC-INFO.

To your health,
Dr. K


STD TRANSMISSION AND PREVENTION ADVICE
 
   
 
Last modified on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
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