Gonorrhea

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), gonorrhea is becoming more common and increasingly drug resistant. This infection was once easily treated with a dose of antibiotics, but now it’s turning into a nearly invincible sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Gonorrhea, otherwise known as “the clap,” is the second most common STD (chlamydia is the first). Anyone who is sexually active is at risk. Touching others’ genitals and having sex, including anal and oral sex, can share the disease. A pregnant woman can also pass it along to her child during a vaginal birth. However, the germs can’t live apart from a body for more than a few seconds, so people won’t get gonorrhea from touching objects, such as toilet seats or clothes.

Gonorrhea is not fatal, but it can have serious health effects, such as infertility. It also often spreads silently as it rarely causes symptoms right away in both men and women.

In the U.S. the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 800,000 new gonorrhea infections occur annually. According to WHO, 78 million people are infected with gonorrhea every year. Even after treatment, people can continue to be infected.

How Do I Know If I Have Gonorrhea?

Most people with gonorrhea don’t have symptoms, but in men, they can include:

  • Feeling pain or burning when urinating
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Testicles that are swollen or painful

Women’s symptoms can include:

  • Feeling pain or burning when urinating
  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods

If you’re sexually active and have multiple sex partners, get screened for gonorrhea every year. Practice safe sex as condoms can act as a barrier. If your partner complains of burning when urinating or has sores on his or her genitals, stop having sex until a doctor checks out the symptoms.