Your health is one of your most important assets. Therefore it is important for you to know all about things that put you at risk. Here are 5 Things You May Not Know About Gonorrhea:
1. It is SMART
Overtime, Gonorrhea has learned how to become stronger and resist against the antibiotics that are used to treat it. “The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,” said WHO’s Dr. Teodora Wi.1
2. It is SILENT
Gonorrhea can have serious health effects, causing damage along the way that can even ruin fertility, but it is often silent and symptom free for an extended period of time, allowing it to be transferred from one partner to the next without you even knowing.1 “Among women, gonococcal infections are commonly asymptomatic or might not produce recognizable symptoms until complications (e.g., PID- pelvic inflammatory disease) have occurred. PID can result in tubal scarring that can lead to infertility and ectopic pregnancy.”2
3. It is SECOND
If Gonorrhea were in a race, it would come in second with the silver metal, close behind the leading STI (sexually transmitted infection), Chlamydia earning the gold. The CDC estimates over 800,000 new cases of Gonorrhea infections occurring every year in the US, and having it once does not protect you from contracting gonorrhea again.1
4. It is STOPPABLE (CAN BE PREVENTED)
According to the CDC, not having sex is the most reliable way to avoid contracting gonorrhea. This includes not having vaginal, oral or anal sex, since these are all ways that gonorrhea can be spread. Using a condom correctly every time can help lessen the risk, but does not protect 100% of the time against pregnancy or gonorrhea, even when used correctly every time. Having fewer partners will also lessen your risk. Talk to your partner about a long term monogamous (only one partner) relationship to help reduce the risk of contracting and spreading gonorrhea.3
5. It is SERIOUS
With Gonorrhea getting stronger and smarter there is now only one recommended treatment option for this infection, and there is no telling how long this one medication will remain effective as gonorrhea shows no sign of slowing down as it continues to strengthen into a super-bug.4 Be sure to get tested for gonorrhea and have your partner get tested as well to be sure you are free of gonorrhea. You should get tested annually or more frequently if you have a new partner or if your partner has an STI.
After reading this article, do you have concerns that perhaps you have been exposed to gonorrhea? We can help with a free STD/STI test contact the Clinic closest to to you.
Written by Elise Klein, RN
1Fox, Maggie. "Nearly Untreatable Gonorrhea Spreading Globally." Last modified July 7, 2017, 2017. Accessed. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/drug-resistant-superbug-strains-gonorrhea-spreading-globally-n780686.
2"Gonococcal Infection." CDC. Last modified January 4, 2018, Accessed. https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/gonorrhea.htm.
3"The Lowdown on How to Prevent Stds." CDC. Last modified February 9, 2016, Accessed. https://www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/lowdown/lowdown-text-only.htm.
4"Cultivating Innovation in the Fight against Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea." CDC. Last modified July 26, 2017, Accessed. https://www.cdc.gov/std/products/success/Gonorrhea-Drug-Trial-Success-Story_2016-7-26_508.pdf.