Spotlight: Gonorrhea

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One of the most common STDs in the United States is gonorrhea, sometimes known as the clap. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that can infect both men and women. It can cause an infection in the genitals, rectum and/or throat. It is considered a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15 to 24 years old.

Gonorrhea can be transmitted through anal, oral or vaginal sex and can also be transmitted from a mother to a child during childbirth. The CDC states that the only way to avoid gonorrhea altogether is not engage in sexual activity. The CDC further recommends that all sexually active people use protection. The proper use of latex condoms can be an effective way to prevent the spread of STDs.

It is common for people with gonorrhea infection to show no signs or symptoms of the infection. When symptoms do appear they can range from mild to sever. Symptoms can include a burning or discomfort with urination, discharge or itchiness in the affected area. Testing for gonorrhea can be done with either a swab test or a diagnostic urine screening.

If you are infected with gonorrhea, treatment can be really simple. Since it is caused by a bacteria, gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics. Though recently, some parts of the world have seen an increased resistance to antibiotics by certain strains of gonorrhea. In 2016, a strain of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea appeared in Hawaii. It was the first documented case in the United States. If you start treatment for gonorrhea, it is recommended by the CDC to avoid sexual activity until the treatment has fully completed.

If gonorrhea is left untreated it can lead to far more serious medical conditions. Women can develop pelvic inflammatory disease, scar tissue that blocks the fallopian tubes, infertility or experience ectopic pregnancy. In men, scar tissue can form and cause pain and in more rare occasions, men can become sterile.

If you believe you may have been exposed to gonorrhea or any other STD, you should have STD testing performed right away. Since symptoms do not always present themselves, this can be the best way to know for certain the current status of your sexual health.

 

Sources:
1 CDC – Gonorrhea Facts
2 Healthline – Gonorrhea

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Article by Robert Francis Curtis

Robert studied at Columbia College Chicago. He has worked as a Care Adviser here at Analyte Health for a while and looks forward to spreading more information about sexual health.