Overview: Gonorrhea

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New Wyoming Cases, 2015: 171

Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by bacterial infection. Among bacterial STDs, gonorrhea is second only to chlamydia in the number of reported cases and is especially prevalent among sexually active teens and young adults. In 2015, there were 171 gonorrhea cases reported in Wyoming.

Gonorrhea is spread through unprotected contact with an infected penis, vagina, mouth, or anus. Ejaculation does not have to occur for gonorrhea to be transmitted, and both males and females can pass gonorrhea to partners without knowing it. Pregnant women can pass the infection on to their unborn child.

Left untreated in women, gonorrhea can lead to serious complications by spreading to the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries, causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and possibly infertility. People with gonorrhea have a higher chance of contracting the HIV virus if they have unprotected sex with an HIV-infected partner.

All sexually active individuals are at risk for contracting gonorrhea, but it can be prevented by observing a few simple precautions. Abstinence or monogamy with an uninfected partner is the most effective preventative technique; regardless, knowing one’s own status and the status of one’s partner is important. The use of lubricated condoms can greatly reduce the risk of infection, although the use of spermicidal foams, creams or jellies can cause microscopic abrasions that facilitate transmission.

Symptoms: Gonorrhea

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Like many sexually transmitted diseases, gonorrhea can be asymptomatic; between 30% and 60% of people who have gonorrhea remain symptom-free. When symptoms do appear, it is generally within the first 4-6 days of being infected, although they can take as long as 30 days to appear. Men may notice a yellowish discharge from the penis, along with frequent and painful urination, pain and swelling of the testes, rectal itching, discharge or rectal bleeding. Women may experience vaginal discharge, difficulty urinating, abnormal bleeding, or rectal bleeding; often, these symptoms are mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection.

Treatment: Gonorrhea

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A number of commonly used antibiotics are effective in the treatment of gonorrhea. It is recommended that individuals abstain from sex during the treatment period. The body does not build immunity to gonorrhea, so it’s possible to contract a new infection.

It is recommended that your sexual partners also been screened and treated for gonorrhea.

See prevention.

Support: Gonorrhea

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