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STI fact sheet: Gonorrhea

This is a bacterial STI that grows easily in the reproductive tract and urethra because of its warmth and moist environment. It is a very common STI which can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes and anus.

Gonorrhea is transmitted through having oral, vaginal or anal sex with an infected person. It can still be transmitted even if a man does not ejaculate since it is transmitted through fluids. It can be spread to infants if left untreated during childbirth.  Any sexually active person is at risk of contracting gonorrhea. Anyone who has been treated for gonorrhea can be re-infected if they have sexual contact with an infected person.

While some men do not exhibit any symptoms while infected with the bacteria, some of the common symptoms one should look out for include a burning sensation when urinating, a discharge which may be white, yellow or green within two weeks of infection. Sometimes men who have gonorrhea may have swollen or painful testicles.

Women who have gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all, mostly mistaken for a bladder infection or vaginal infection. Initial symptoms include painful or burning sensations when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, and vaginal bleeding between periods. This can pose a great challenge in future, especially in the reproductive system.

Gonorrhea is treatable, but it is important that all the medication is taken as prescribed. The medication cannot be shared and does not repair permanent damage caused by the disease. However, drug resistant strains are becoming common making a cure rare to find. One should use a condom always to prevent transmission or infection when having sex.