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Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening

Overview

Guidelines for chlamydia

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends chlamydia testing for all sexually active women ages 24 and younger. The USPSTF also recommends testing for women older than 24 with high-risk sexual behaviors. The task force does not state how often to be screened.footnote 1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends screening every year for sexually active adolescents and women ages 24 and younger. Women older than 24 who have high-risk sexual behaviors also should be screened every year. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are also at risk since chlamydia can spread through oral and anal sex. These men should be screened every year as well.footnote 2

The CDC recommends testing during pregnancy for those who are ages 24 and younger or who engage in high-risk sexual behaviors. This helps prevent them from spreading chlamydia to their babies.

The CDC also recommends that you have the test again 3 to 12 months after you finish treatment. People who have been diagnosed and treated for chlamydia may get it again if they have sex with the same untreated partner or partners.footnote 2

Guidelines for syphilis

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) strongly recommend that all pregnant women be screened for syphilis because of the severe consequences of being pregnant while infected or having a child born with congenital syphilis.footnote 3 Screening should be done:footnote 4

  • At the first prenatal visit for all pregnant women.
  • During the third trimester and again at delivery for pregnant women who have an increased risk of acquiring syphilis.footnote 4

The USPSTF also strongly recommends that anyone with high-risk sexual behaviors be screened.

Yearly testing for syphilis is recommended for men who are sexually active with other men. If these men also engage in risky sexual behavior, have HIV, or have a sex partner with syphilis, testing should take place more often.

Guidelines for gonorrhea

The USPSTF recommends testing for all sexually active women ages 24 and younger. The USPSTF also recommends testing for women older than 24 who engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.footnote 1

If you engage in high-risk sexual behaviors, you may want to consider being tested once a year for gonorrhea even though you don't have symptoms. Testing will allow gonorrhea to be quickly diagnosed and treated. This helps to reduce the risk of transmitting gonorrhea and avoid complications of the infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends screening every year for sexually active adolescents and women ages 24 and younger. Women older than 24 who have high-risk sexual behaviors also should be screened every year. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are also at risk since gonorrhea can spread through oral and anal sex. These men should be screened every year as well.footnote 2

The CDC recommends testing during pregnancy for those who are ages 24 or younger or who engage in high-risk sexual behaviors. This helps prevent them from transmitting gonorrhea to their babies.footnote 2

The CDC also recommends that you have the test again 3 to 12 months after you finish treatment. People who have been diagnosed and treated for gonorrhea may get it again if they have sex with the same untreated partner or partners.footnote 2

References

Citations

  1. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2014). Chlamydia and gonorrhea screening: Final recommendation statement. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/chlamydia-and-gonorrhea-screening. Accessed October 14, 2014.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR, 64(RR-03): 1–137. http://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015. Accessed July 2, 2015. [Erratum in MMWR, 64(33): 924. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6433a9.htm?s_cid=mm6433a9_w. Accessed January 25, 2016.]
  3. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2018). Screening for syphilis infection in pregnant women: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reaffirmation recommendation statement. JAMA, 320(9): 911–917. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2018.11785. Accessed January 17, 2019.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR, 64(RR-03): 1–137. http://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015. Accessed July 2, 2015. [Erratum in MMWR, 64(33): 924. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6433a9.htm?s_cid=mm6433a9_w. Accessed January 25, 2016.]

Credits

Current as of: February 11, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine

 

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