This test is looking for evidence of infection by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. About 75% of infected women and 50% of infected men have no symptoms; some may experience only mild symptoms. For women, symptoms, if they occur, include bleeding between menstrual periods and after sexual intercourse, abdominal pain, painful intercourse, and an abnormal vaginal discharge. For men, symptoms include pus or milky discharge from the penis and inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis) or of the rectal area (proctitis). Both sexes can experience painful or frequent urination.
The test is looking for presence of the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 700,000 people in the U.S. get new gonorrheal infections each year. While many men with gonorrhea will experience symptoms, most women do not, or will mistake gonorrhea symptoms for a bladder or other vaginal infection. For men, symptoms usually appear within 2 to 5 days of infection but can take up to 30 days. Women who experience symptoms usually do so within 10 days of infection.