Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease, or STD, that is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhaeae (MedlinePlus, 2016) and is sometimes referred to as "the clap" or "drip" (WebMD, 2016). It can affect the cervix, penis, rectum, throat, or eyes (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2012). Gonorrhea is contracted through oral, anal, or vaginal sex with an infected partner. The infection can be passed to the other areas of the body through contact with infected sexual organs either directly or by transferring through hand contact.
Gonorrhea affects over 800,000 people every year in the United States (Planned Parenthood, 2014) but it is suspected that only about half of known infections are reported to the CDC (WebMD, 2016). Anyone who engages in sexual activity can be at risk of gonorrhea. Those most at risk for this disease are those who have multiple partners or have a partner with a history of STDs, do not practice safe sex, or abuse drugs (PubMed, 2012). Gonorrhea is also more common for those between the ages of 15 to 24 (WomensHealth, 2014).
Gonorrhea can be diagnosed using a urine test (CDC, 2016). The health care professional may also choose to take a swab from the potential sites of the infection. This sample can be placed on a glass slide with a stain used to determine the presence of gonorrhea and examined under a microscope. While this method is fast it may not provide absolute certainty on a diagnosis. The sample can also be placed in an incubator set to create ideal conditions for gonorrhea to grow if it is present. This method is more reliable but the final result can take up to three days (Kiefer, 2015).
As with all sexually transmitted disease, the first precaution is abstinence. If engaging in sexual activity, the following methods can reduce the likelihood of contracting Gonorrhea:
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Planned Parenthood. (2014). Gonorrhea at a Glance. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from Planned Parenthood: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/gonorrhea
WebMD. (2016). Gonorrhea. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from Sexual Conditions Health Center: http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/guide/gonorrhea
WebMD. (2016). Gonorrhea. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from eMedicine Health: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/gonorrhea/article_em.htm
WomensHealth. (2014, 03 25). Gonorrhea. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from Women's Health: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/gonorrhea.html#
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