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Am Fam Physician. 2022;105(4):388-396

Related Letter to the Editor: Doxycycline Preferred for the Treatment of Chlamydia

Patient information: See related handouts on chlamydia, written by the authors of this article, and on gonorrhea, which has been adapted from a previously published AFP article.

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Infections caused by Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae are increasing in the United States. Because most infections are asymptomatic, screening is key to preventing complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility and decreasing community and vertical neonatal transmission. All sexually active people with a cervix who are younger than 25 years and older people with a cervix who have risk factors should be screened annually for chlamydial and gonococcal infections. Sexually active men who have sex with men should be screened at least annually. Physicians should obtain a sexual history free from assumptions about sex partners or practices. Acceptable specimen types for testing include vaginal, endocervical, rectal, pharyngeal, and urethral swabs, and first-stream urine samples. Uncomplicated gonococcal infection should be treated with a single 500-mg dose of intramuscular ceftriaxone in people weighing less than 331 lb (150 kg). Preferred chlamydia treatment is a seven-day course of doxycycline, 100 mg taken by mouth twice per day. All nonpregnant people should be tested for reinfection approximately three months after treatment or at the first visit in the 12 months after treatment. Pregnant patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea should have a test of cure four weeks after treatment.

Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae are the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States and are required to be reported to state health departments. Between 2015 and 2019, reported chlamydial infections increased by 19%, and reported gonococcal infections increased by 53%.1 These bacteria commonly infect the urogenital, anorectal, and pharyngeal sites but can become disseminated to affect multiple organ systems. Untreated infections may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease; scarring of fallopian tubes, which can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy; infertility; easier transmission of new HIV infection; and vertical neonatal transmission.2

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