A bacterium named Neisseria gonococcus or gonorrhoeae causes the STD/STI or sexually transmitted disease/infection gonorrhea. In street language, it is commonly referred to as ‘the clap’.
The vaginal or penis discharges from infected men and women are the usual specimens where the bacteria can be found.
The infection is easily transmitted through:
- Unwashed or uncovered by a condom sex toys such as a vibrator shared with an infected person
- Engaging in anal, vaginal or oral sex without protective barriers such as a condom
The bacteria can affect the cervix, eyes, urethra, the throat, and the rectum. An unborn baby also has a high risk of getting the infection when the mother is infected with gonorrhea.
Contrary to popular myths, gonorrhea cannot be transmitted through sharing of toilet seats, cutlery, towels, plates, or cups. There is no way that the bacteria can survive outside the human body for a long period of time.
Signs and symptoms
Most people infected with gonorrhea, particularly women, are not aware they have it. This accounts for the widespread contagion of the infection. If ever symptoms show, the typical ones would include thick yellow or green discharges from the penis or vagina, pain during urination and between periods bleeding for women.
If you suspect that you have been exposed to gonorrhea during your last sexual encounter, getting tested would be the best way to do away with the stress of worry. The tests may involve using swabs to get samples from the discharges from your vagina if you are a woman or from the tip of the penis if you are a man.
Another test that is becoming popularly used would be the simple urine sample. The urine can show the presence of the bacteria in a quicker time and give reliable results as well.
Treatment may range from a single injection of antibiotics or a single large oral dose of an antibiotic pill. There may also be a combination of antibiotic treatment using an injection and several antibiotic pills to be taken for 7 days.
A follow-up check-up after a week of treatment is very important so further testing could show if you are already free of the disease. It should be noted though that even when the infection has been cleared from the body, the damage that the disease has done can no longer be undone.
Sex should not be engaged in when undergoing treatment to prevent the spread of the infection and reinfection as well. Successful treatment of the disease does not mean that you will not be able to get infected again. There is no immunity against gonorrhea.
Precautions can be used to prevent getting infected with gonorrhea:
- Washing the sex toys or covering them with new condoms during every sexual activity and, best of all, not sharing them.
- Male condoms should be used when engaging in anal sex while in vaginal sex both male and female condoms can act as effective barriers.
- Dental dams should be used when performing vaginal oral sex or male condoms to cover the penis.