Gonorrhoea And Oral Sex
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Gonorrhoea wasn’t ever good news, but this superbug just made it worse.The World Health Organization has come out with a piece of alarming news – a dangerous form of gonorrhoea is spreading, which is either highly difficult to treat because of its increasing resistance to antibiotics, or is untreatable.
The WHO has warned that gonorrhoea is now becoming gonorrhoea superbug, and is spreading mostly because of an increase in oral sex and a decline in the use of condoms. Data from 77 countries was analysed, and it was shown that the sexually transmitted infection’s resistance to antibiotics is increasing. Worldwide, 78 million people are affected by this STI annually. Gonorrhoea is extremely painful, and can cause infertility, amongst other effects.
What’s oral sex got to do with gonorrhoea?
As with other STIs, one can contract gonorrhoea by unprotected sex – vaginal, anal, or oral, while it can be spread via touch too, i.e., through fingers, sex toys etc. It can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat. When the throat is infected, and antibiotics are taken for something as commonplace as a bad throat, the antibiotics mix with the gonorrhoea bacteria (Neisseria species) and this helps them adapt and become resistant to antibiotics. 3 cases have been identified where gonorrhoea has already become untreatable – one each in France, Japan, and Spain.
Experts are of the opinion that a decline in condom use, along with increased travel, urbanisation, and poor detection rates, have led to this situation. People in lower-income groups, teens, and other high-risk groups should be especially careful, and should get themselves screened regularly for all STIs.
According to the WHO, the situation is “fairly grim”. There are only 3 drugs in the development pipeline that could possibly be used for the treatment of gonorrhoea, and those too carry no guarantee. The World Health Organization has suggested that eventually, vaccines will be needed to halt the rapid progress of the STI.
How would you know that you have gonorrhoea?
Symptoms of gonorrhoea usually occur within 2-14 days after contact with the infected person. However, some people with gonorrhoea may never get any symptoms. A person who has gonorrhoea but has no symptoms is a non-symptomatic carrier, and is still capable of transmitting the infection. Also, a person without symptoms is more likely to transmit gonorrhoea to his/her partners since he/she is not even aware of that he/she is infected.
Symptoms of gonorrhoea in men
Men may not have any obvious signs and symptoms for many weeks. In fact, some men may never get any symptoms of gonorrhoea despite being infected. The infection typically manifests its symptoms 1 week after the transmission of gonorrhoea infection. Usually, men complain of a painful sensation during urination. As the infection progresses, symptoms may include:
- Increased frequency/urgency of urination
- Discharge (pus-like) from the penis (could be white, yellow, beige, or greenish)
- Inflammation/redness at the opening of the penis
- Pain/swelling in the testicles
- A persistent sore throat
Symptoms of gonorrhoea in women
Many women also do not develop any obvious signs of gonorrhoea. For women who do develop symptoms of gonorrhoea, the symptoms are usually mild and may resemble other common vaginal infections, making it difficult to identify the exact infection. Symptoms include:
- A discharge from the vagina (watery, creamy, or slightly green)
- Painful sensation/burning sensation while passing urine
- Sore throat
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Sharp pain in the lower abdomen
What you can do to prevent gonorrhoea?
Well, for starters, always have safe sex, even if it is oral sex that you are indulging in. Get yourself tested regularly, especially if you have multiple partners. Listen to your body – if you experience a symptom that wasn’t there before you had sex, go see your doctor immediately. Statistics show that giving oral sex to a man has higher chances of leading to gonorrhoea, than if you were to pleasure a woman orally.
We should be spreading awareness about the infection, so the number of people getting infected can go down. There is also a strong need to remove the stigma around STIs in general and gonorrhoea in particular, so that being safe and getting regularly tested is seen as a sign of smartness, and not of shame.