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CUT THE CLAPTRAP; ISSUE OF THE WEEK: GONORRHOEA.

Byline: Dr Catherine Hood

GONORRHOEA is one of the better known sexually-transmitted diseases. Nicknamed the clap, this bacteria infects over 25,000 people every year.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

YOU get gonorrhoea from unprotected vagina, anal or oral sex. For men, 80 per cent will get a discharge from the penis. This can be slight or very full-on. They may also get pain passing urine. But one in 10 men will get no symptoms at all. And 50 per cent of women won't even know they're infected. If symptoms do appear they are vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, disturbed periods or pain passing urine.

CAN I BE TESTED?

SCREENING tests are available. For men, this involves having a swab taken from the penis - for women, a swab from the cervix. Both sexes may also need a throat swab.

Gonorrhoea can often be seen down a microscope so if you go to an STD clinic for tests you can get your results while you wait.

If you find you do have gonorrhoea, you should be tested for other infections too. One in five men and almost half the women with gonorrhoea are also infected with chlamydia.

CAN IT BE TREATED?

GONORRHOEA can be treated with antibiotics. However, there are some strains that are antibiotic-resistant. If you are infected, it's important to go back to the clinic for any follow-up tests to make sure you haven't got a strain that needs different treatment.

It is also important that all sexual contacts are treated.

WHAT IF I IGNORE IT?

NOT only will the unpleasant symptoms not clear up but untreated gonorrhoea can cause long-term health problems including testicular and pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

-FOR more information see www.impotence.org.uk

CAPTION(S):

STRAIN: Gonorrhoea bacteria
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 16, 2004
Words:294
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