How Common is Gonorrhea?

couple holding hands silhouetted against the sunset

In 2017, more than 550,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), making it the second most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). That total reflects a 75% increase in the gonorrhea infection rate since 2009, a disturbing trend.

Gonorrhea, also known as “the clap,” is a bacterial infection potentially spread through any form of sexual contact between an infected person and non-infected partner. Infections are most common among people ages 15-24, with males being more likely to be diagnosed. That’s due in large part to symptoms being more apparent in males. Only about 20 percent of infected females experience gonorrhea symptoms, compared to 90 percent of males.

When symptoms do appear, it generally happens 1-10 days after infection. Symptoms in men may include burning during urination, painful, swollen testicles, frequent urination and/or yellow, white, or green discharge from the penis. In women, symptoms may include painful urination, vaginal bleeding between periods, pain during sex, bleeding after sex, abdominal or pelvic pain and/or unusual vaginal discharge. Some women mistake gonorrhea symptoms for bladder infections.

Gonorrhea can also cause problems with other parts of your body, including your rectum, throat, joints and eyes.

Researchers say the increased prevalence of gonorrhea is due in part to the bacteria becoming resistant to traditional antibiotic medications. Penicillin was once an effective treatment, but today the CDC recommends a heavy dose of a pair of medications in order to cure an infection.

“The problem of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is a threat and an emerging problem,” says Edward W. Hook III, M.D., Endowed Professor of Infectious Disease Translational Research at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. “There is a lack of alternative antibiotics for persons who cannot take the currently recommended therapy and the future problem of the threat of untreatable gonorrhea due to the inexorably continuing development of antibiotic resistance by the organism.”

Without effective treatment, gonorrhea can live in your system indefinitely, and an untreated partner can even re-infect a treated partner.

If you or your partner experience any of the symptoms outlined in this article, if you have multiple sexual partners in high-risk categories or if you have any other reason to believe you may have been exposed to gonorrhea, contact Sira today for a confidential gonorrhea test. Urine tests are offered free of charge, regardless of income or insurance, and a Registered Nurse discretely delivers your results. 

Contact Sira in Gainesville today at 352-377-4947.

Related Posts