GONORHOEA: A Sexual Health Menace
GONORHOEA is one of the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide. It is thought to arise from infection with the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea. The infection may affect the opening of the womb, the ducts through which urine pass, the rectum, the anus, the mouth, throat and eyes. The bacteria may be found in the fluid which line these sites. The infection can spread when these secretions are passed on from one person to another. Some infected persons may not experience symptoms while others may commonly experience discomfort when urinating and discharge from genitals after several days following infection.
Complications of the disease may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women and serious inflammation of the urethra which hinders urination in men. Sterility may also arise in both men and women in severe cases. Further problems include infection of the eyes, arthritis and irritation of the heart valves.
If diagnosed with gonorrhoea it is recommended to stop sexual intercourse and commence treatment. Effective treatment of gonorrhoea includes use of antibiotics such as cefotaxime and azithromycin. Due to antibiotic resistance it is important for the choice of antibiotic to be based on local sensitivity data. With appropriate use of antibiotics all symptoms maybe cleared in a matter of days. It is advisable to carry out a follow-up test after treatment to ensure the infection has gone, particularly before restarting sexual intercourse.
The mainstay of health workers advocacy against the disease is prevention. Gonorrhoea can be prevented by practising safe sex (e.g. use of condoms) and abstaining from sex.
If you suspect you maybe infected it is vital to get tested and treated. This can be done in sexual health clinics and pharmacies.