Both men and women can have gonorrhea or chlamydia without any signs.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia can have the same signs, though gonorrhea usually starts sooner and is more painful. Both men and women can have gonorrhea and chlamydia at the same time so it is best to treat for both. If not treated, either gonorrhea or chlamydia can make a man or a woman sterile (unable to have a baby).
If a pregnant woman with gonorrhea or chlamydia is not treated before giving birth, the infection may get in the baby's eyes and make him blind (see p. 221).
Signs in both the man and the woman:
• Pain or burning during urination (peeing)
• Rash or sores all over the body
• Painful swelling in one or both knees, ankles or wrists
Signs in the man:
• Drops of pus from the penis
• Sometimes there is painful swelling of the testicles
Signs in the woman:
• Yellow or green discharge from the vagina or anus
• Pain in the lower belly (pelvic inflammatory disease, p. 243)
In a man, the first signs begin 2 to 5 days (or up to 3 weeks or more) after sexual contact with an infected person. In a woman, signs may not show up for weeks or months. But a person who does not show any signs can give the disease to someone else, starting a few days after becoming infected.
♦ ' In the past, gonorrhea was usually treated with penicillin. But now in many areas the disease has become resistant to penicillin, so other antibiotics must be used. It is best to seek local advice about which medicines are effective, available, and affordable in your area. Medicines used to treat gonorrhea and chlamydia are listed on p. 360. If the drip and pain have not gone away in 2 or 3 days after trying a treatment, the gonorrhea could be resistant to the medicine, or the person could have chlamydia.
♦ If a woman has gonorrhea or chlamydia and also has fever and pain in the lower belly, she may have pelvic inflammatory disease (see p. 243).
♦ Everyone who has had sex with a person known to have gonorrhea or chlamydia should also be treated, especially wives of men who are infected. Even if the wife shows no signs, she is probably infected. If she is not treated at the same time, she will give the disease back to her husband again.
♦ Protect the eyes of all newborn babies from chlamydia and especially gonorrhea, which can cause blindness (see p. 221). For treatment see p. 379.
CAUTION: A person with gonorrhea or chlamydia may also have syphilis without knowing it. Sometimes it is best to go ahead and give the full treatment for syphilis, because the gonorrhea or chlamydia treatment may prevent the first syphilis symptoms, but may not cure the disease.
For prevention of these and other sexually transmitted diseases, see p. 239.
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