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Bacterial STD Panel

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A recent exposure panel to check for bacterial infections including: Chlamydia, Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NAA) and Syphilis (Rapid Plasma Reagin, RPR).

How are Bacterial STDs Different from Viral STDs?

Like viral STDs, bacterial STDs often give no warning signs or symptoms, meaning that a person can be infected or infect a sexual partner without knowing it. Unlike viral STDs, complications from a bacterial STD can result in several serious conditions that can cause irreversible damage including: pelvic inflammatory disease, urethritis, infertility and ectopic pregnancy. The longer a bacterial STD is left untreated, the more damage it can do. Medication can stop the infection but it cannot repair any damage incurred before treatment began. Bacterial STDs are curable with treatments of antibiotics.

Types and Symptoms of Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Diseases


Chlamydia is an infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis. It is most commonly sexually transmitted, and can infect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, eye, or throat. C. trachomatis is found only in humans, and is a major infectious cause of human genital and eye disease. This disease is one of the most commonly sexually transmitted infections in the world, and can be transmitted during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Between half and three-quarters of the females that have this infection experience no symptoms and will not know that they are infected.

In men, infection of the urethra is typically symptomatic; generating a white discharge from the penis that may or may not cause pain upon urinating. On occasion, the condition can spread to the upper genital tract in women or to the epididymus in men. In women symptoms that can occur include unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge, abdominal pain, painful sexual intercourse, a fever, and painful urination, or the urge to urinate more often. In men symptoms that can occur that include a painful or burning urination, unusual penile discharge, swollen or tender testicles, or a fever.

Gonorrhea (the Clap')

Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria Gonorrhea, and anyone who has any type of sex can catch the disease. The infection can be spread by contact with the mouth, vagina, penis, or anus. Usual symptoms in men are burning with urination and penile discharge. Women, on the other hand, are normally asymptomatic or have some vaginal discharge and pelvic pain.

In both sexes, however, if left untreated, it may spread locally; causing epididymitis or PID. Throughout the body it can affect the joints and the heart. Treatment with ceftriaxone is normally used due to the resistance of antibiotics that has evolved with more commonly used medications. It is typically given in combination with other drugs because gonorrhea infections can occur along with Chlamydia, an infection which ceftriaxone does not cure. Recently, some strains of this infection have begun showing resistance to this treatment well, which is now making the infection more difficult to treat.

Nearly half of the women with this infection are asymptomatic. Those who are symptomatic may have some type of vaginal discharge, pain in the lower abdomen, or painful intercourse. Many men who are infected typically have symptoms like urethritis, which are associated with burning upon urination and penile discharge. Both sexes can also become infected with gonorrhea of the throat due to participating in oral sex with an infected partner. This type of infection is asymptomatic in the majority of cases, but can produce a sore throat in the rest.

The incubation period is usually somewhere between 2 - 14 days but most of the symptoms can occur between 46 days after the original contact. Occasionally the infection can cause lesions on the skin and infection around the joints. Very rarely, it may reach the heart and cause endocarditis. In the spinal column it can cause meningitis.


Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema Pallidum. It is often called 'the great imitator' due to the fact that so many of its signs and symptoms are identical to those of other infections. Its main course of transmission is through sexual activity but it can also be transferred from mother to child during pregnancy or at birth.

The signs and symptoms of this infection can shift depending upon which of four stages: primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. The first stage typically presents with a firm, painless, non-itchy skin ulceration. The second stage will often result in a spreading rash that can include the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The third stage usually has no symptoms, but the fourth stage can involve neurological or heart problems.
This infection is transferred from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore by way of vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and may show up in one of the four different stages. It can appear approximately three to 90 days after the first exposure, but on average 21 days is the norm. A sore on the skin, called a chancre, will appear at the original point of contact. Secondary stages typically occur approximately four to ten weeks after the primary infection. Tertiary stages may happen approximately three to 15 years after the first contact, while congenital syphilis can be contracted in newborns during pregnancy or at birth.

This infection can be effectively treated with antibiotics that are preferably by intramuscular; penicillin G, or ceftriaxone. For those who have a severe penicillin allergy reaction, oral medication can be given.