How are Gonorrhea and Chlamydia Transmitted?

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are both bacterial infections and are quite common. In fact, chlamydia is the most common infection in the United States, and gonorrhea is the second-most reported one. Together, they comprise the majority of STDs worldwide. They are predominantly spread through vaginal and anal intercourse, but can also be transmitted by oral sex.


While bacteria can cause infection on many places in the body, chlamydia can infect the urethra, anal region, epididymis (in men) and cervix (in women). Gonorrhea can infect the throat, urethra, anal and rectal area as well as the cervix (in women).


These infections are transmitted quite efficiently from male to female. However, research shows that condoms can reduce the risk of chlamydia and gonorrhea transmission. Risk factors that increase risk of transmission of chlamydia and gonorrhea include multiple sexual partners, younger age, inconsistent use of condoms, and prior history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


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Gaydos CA, Howell MR, Pare B, et al. Chlamydia trachomatis infections in female military recruits. N Engl J Med 1998; 339:739.
Cook RL, St George K, Lassak M, et al. Screening for Chlamydia trachomatis infection in college women with a polymerase chain reaction assay. Clin Infect Dis 1999; 28:1002.