Fun fact: 7% of new STI diagnoses in 2013 were because of gonorrhoea. The only infection more common was chlamydia (which made up a whopping great 47%). STIs really like company- if you’re found to have gonorrhoea, it’s very likely that you also have chlamydia.
Common misconceptions: You won’t get gonorrhoea if you only do hand stuff? WRONG. Just because you’re not partaking in penetrative sex doesn’t mean you’re safe from STIs.
How it spreads: Most commonly neisseria gonorrhoeae is spread through sexual contact, but can also be spread during child birth. This bacteria likes to hop across surfaces when they come into contact. It can live not only in the urethra, rectum and cervix, but also the throat and eyes.
Symptoms: It’s symptomatic for most people (90% men, 50% women), and symptoms vary depending on where you’ve infected
-pain when peeing
-discharge (vaginal, urethral, rectal)
-lower abdominal pain
-painful periods, or bleeding between them
-painful or tender testicles (occasionally)
Evil super power: You may have heard of “super-gonorrhoea” which has been freaking out infection specialists, as it is becoming increasingly resistant to the antibiotic we treat it with. Whilst there is an alternative we can use, if bacteria become resistant to that one as well we’re a little scuppered.
Key weakness: Gonorrhoea is a pain in the bum in more than one way- the best treatment is a one off dose of ceftriaxone (an antibiotic) intramuscularly. And that muscle is usually your bottom. After a sharp scratch you’ll also usually take one dose of azithromycin.
Keeping safe: Use condoms. Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it all before. But seriously. If you’re touching somebody’s downstairs equipment, make sure you’re protected, or you could be sharing more than just sexiness.
Being polite: Tell your partners! You really should tell everyone you’ve been sexually intimate with in the last 6 months. If that sends shivers down your spine, relax! Your friendly neighbourhood GUM clinic can do it for you, and keep your name out of it too.