Health officials in England are sounding the alarm as cases of Gonorrhoea have surged since Covid restrictions were eased.
Provisional data shows diagnoses increased by 21% compared to 2019.
Those infected with gonorrhoea may experience a thick, discolored discharge from the genital area that can range in color from green to yellow. However, some may show no symptoms at all. The disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
The best way to protect yourself is through using condoms and getting tested if you’re sexually active, especially if it’s a new or casual partner.
Young people most susceptible
According to a press release by the UK Health Security Agency, young people aged 15 to 24 are the most susceptible age group for contracting STIs because they’re more likely to change sexual partners. Though these infections may often be treated with antibiotics, there is still a risk of serious health complications such as infertility or pelvic inflammatory disease when left untreated. Therefore it is important that those within this demographic take steps to reduce their chances of acquiring an STI.
Dr Katy Sinka, Consultant Epidemiologist and Head of the STI section at UKHSA, said:
“Condoms aren’t just about preventing unwanted pregnancy; they are the main defence against STIs. If you have had condomless sex with a new or casual partner, it is even more important to get tested to detect any potential infections early and prevent passing them on to others.
“You can get free condoms at your local sexual health clinic and if you’re under 25, you can also get them online.”
The importance of getting tested for Gonorrhoea
Dr Claire Dewsnap, President of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, made the following comment:
“The rise in gonorrhoea cases provides an important reminder of the importance of testing for STIs and wearing a condom every time you have sex. By getting tested at least once a year, regardless of whether you’re showing symptoms, you can help minimise the risk of catching or passing on STIs when having sex. Delaying access to the right care and treatment also risks developing longer term problems which can be more difficult to address.
“If you are concerned about STI transmission, sexual health clinics are on hand to help.”
Where to get tested for Gonorrhoea
According to the BBC, you can get tested for Gonorrhoea at:
- a sexual health clinic
- your GP surgery
- a contraceptive and young people’s clinic
- a private clinic
You can be re-infected
It’s important to note that those who have had gonorrhea in the past can still be at risk of re-infection without treatment, according to Mayo Clinic.