Possibility of infection living in certain areas


Q: If infected with Gonorrhea or Chlamydia, does the infection automatically live in the urethral meatus? Can it live on the outside of the penis as well?

Symptoms:  Burning urination, discharge, delayed urine flow, weak urine flow, cloudy urine

A:   Hello,
Thanks for the query to askthedoctor.com
It is to be understood that Urethra alone is not the site of infection by chlamydia in men or women. The prevalence of infection is varied by anatomic sites,- Chlamydia :- rectal, 7.9%; urethral, 5.2%; and pharyngeal, 1.4%; for Gonorrhea:- rectal, 6.9%; urethral, 6.0%; and pharyngeal, 9.2%.

Approximately 85% of rectal infections are found to be asymptomatic in various studies conducted which support the need for routine screening. Because 53% of chlamydial infections and 64% of gonococcal infections are at nonurethral sites, these infections would be missed and not treated if only urethral screening was performed. In addition,>70% of chlamydial infections would be missed and not treated if MSM( men who have sex with men) were tested only for gonorrhea.

So, pertaining to your question , urethra is not the only site where these STIs can harbor themselves and screening has to resorted to a complete bodily screening depending on symptoms and signs produced by different locales ( rectal, urethra or pharyngeal).
I hope i have answered your query in detail,
wishing you safe sexual practices and good health in future,

Comments / Follow Ups

Patient: Thank you! If it is in fact a urethral infection in the male, does it automatically live in the urethral meatus (opening area) of the penis?
Doctor: They cannot survive in bladder as they are aerobes and require oxygen to survive , hence stay in dryer areas like urethra, rectum or throat and can survive. It is not necessarily restricted to the tip of penis per se but involve the whole urethra.
If your hint is towards the milky drop of discharge at tip of penis in gonorrhoea then i would like to clear that the drop can be extruded only after milking of the shaft of penis.,
Patient: Understood. If it does harbor itself in the urethral meatus and is easily exposed, can it be transmitted without infected discharge/fluid? Or is infected fluid the primary mode of transmission?
Doctor: It cannot be transmitted through air,hence it needs a medium to travel which is provided by the seminal fluid or the vaginal fluid.

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