Gonorrhea is a very common bacterial infection that is not as well-known as other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This is in part because, while it can be life-threatening, it is usually less severe than other STDs such as HIV or Syphilis. Another reason it’s less known is that many people are asymptomatic.
How is it transmitted?
Gonorrhea is contracted from having unprotected sex with someone who has the infection. It is spread through semen, pre-cum, vaginal fluids and can infect the genitals, anus, or mouth.
The infection can also be transmitted by fluid coming in contact with the eyes. Less commonly, it is also possible for Gonorrhea to be spread to a child during birth.
Gonorrhea is asymptomatic in many people. However, those infected can still transmit it, so using condoms every time you have sex is the best way to help prevent gonorrhea.
How is it not transmitted?
Gonorrhea isn’t spread through non-sexual contact, so you can not contract it from sharing food, being coughed on, or sitting on a toilet seat. It can not be transmitted through blood or saliva.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are different for men and women. If you’re a guy, then beware of pain while urinating or swelling of the testicles. For women, take note if you have pelvic pain, pain while urinating, or bleeding between periods.
It is much more likely for you to be asymptomatic to Gonorrhea if you are a woman, as about 80% of women have no symptoms while only roughly 15% of men have no symptoms. This is why the only way to be certain you have Gonorrhea without symptoms is to take an STD test. Fortunately, the SAFE app can quickly find and schedule an appointment for you at a nearby clinic.
What kind of damage can it cause?
Gonorrhea can develop into a life-threatening disease. For women, it can spread and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). For men, an untreated gonorrhea infection can spread and lead to infertility. Even if you are asymptomatic, you can spread this life-threatening disease to a loved one.
How is it treated?
The good news is that Gonorrhea is completely curable. If you find out that you have tested positive for an STD, then you can get prescribed medicine from your doctor and be clear within a week. However, you are still infectious a week following treatment, so you should make sure to avoid sex or use a condom within that time frame.
You are able to contract Gonorrhea again after being cured so be sure that your sexual partner(s) are free of STDs. The best way to do this is to encourage them to take an STD test and to upload it unto the SAFE app. They can then privately show you their results so you can live without the stress and confusion of Asymptomatic Gonorrhea.