Gonorrhea Testing Gonorrhea (from Late Latin gonorrhoia where gonos means "seed" and rhoe means "flow") is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that tends to attack the mucous membranes of the body. Gonorrhea is caused by the growth and proliferation of the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The disease can survive in the eye, rectum, mouth, penis, throat, or vagina. This means that it can be transmitted through any variety of sexual contact.
It is the second most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S.; the first being Chlamydia. The bacteria reside in the warm and moist body cavities of both men and women and are highly contagious. Anatomically, women are at a higher risk of infection. Gonorrhea is the most common cause of female infertility and is also known as "the clap" or "the drip". Only small percentage of women infected with the disease show any symptoms, leaving them and their partners, unaware of their condition. If left untreated, gonorrhea patients can develop pelvic inflammatory disease or PID (women), or an inflammation of the epididymis, prostate gland, or urethral structure (men), all of which are far more difficult to treat.
Gonorrhea is spread through contact with the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus. The disease can be passed through any sexual contact. Ejaculation does not have to occur for gonorrhea to be transmitted or acquired. Sexual fluids may also infect the eye and other body parts. Gonorrhea can also be spread from mother to baby during delivery.
People who have had gonorrhea and received treatment may get infected again if they have sexual contact with a person infected with gonorrhea.
Anyone who has sexual relations with an infected person is at risk. The risk increases when people do not use condoms, or when people have multiple sexual partners.
Gonorrhea may be spread by genital, anal, or oral genital sex. In the United States, the highest rates of gonorrhea infection occur among teenagers and adults in their twenties.
People who have chlamydial (kla-MID-e-al) infections, or other sexually transmitted diseases, are more likely to have gonorrhea as well. The reason being is that any infection can weaken the immune system and allow other opportunistic infections to occur. Public health officials recommend that all sexually active young women and young men be tested regularly for both gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is an infection of a woman's reproductive organs above the cervix, such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Untreated gonorrhea is a common cause of PID. PID can lead to infertility, pregnancy problems, and pelvic pain. Some women have no symptoms of PID, and the damage caused by PID cannot be fixed. This laboratory tests and treating gonorrhea is so important. Widespread infection to other parts of the body can happen. It can affect the blood, joints, heart, and organs. Increased risk of getting HIV or spreading HIV is also a major concern
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