Gonorrhoea is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD/STI).
How does it spread?
Gonorrhoea spreads through sexual contact via the infected body fluids of one person to another. This can be via vaginal, oral or anal sexual intercourse and both parties are at risk.
What are the symptoms?
Men – burning sensation when passing urine, green/yellow penile discharge, pelvic pain.
Women – green/yellow vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, pain during sexual intercourse.
Gonorrhoea infection of the throat and anus may cause discharge and discomfort in these areas.
However, it is important to note that many people have no symptoms and therefore have no idea they are infected. The only way to be sure is through screening tests.
How can I screen?
Men – screening for men involves a first catch urine sample, regardless of symptoms. This can be done approximately 5 days or more from and exposure.
Women – screening for women will require a high vaginal swab test (similar to a pap smear), again roughly 5 days or more from exposure.
Both men and women can do oral and anal swabs should there be a risk of infection in these areas.
What happens if I leave it alone?
If gonorrhoea is present but not treated, particularly in those that have no symptoms, complications can develop further down the line.
Men may experience testicular and prostate inflammation, which is notoriously uncomfortable. Gonorrhoea is also believed to increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Women may develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which itself is quite painful, but PID itself can cause scarring of the pelvic and reproductive organs. If scarring and inflammation is persistent, irreversible infertility may occur.
What is the treatment?
Gonorrhoea is curable and often all that is required is a single course of antibiotics, regardless of symptoms and body region that is infected. Even though the antibiotics are very effective they do not protect you from subsequent infections.
How do I know if I am cured?
The only way to know for sure is to test approximately 4 weeks after receiving the antibiotics. Even if all symptoms have subsided this does not necessarily mean the infection has been cured completely.
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