Gonorrhoea (otherwise known as ‘the clap’) is the second most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK, and commonly affects young men aged 20-24 years and women aged 16-19. The bacterium that causes the infection is found mainly in the semen and vaginal fluids of infected men and women, so it’s easily transmitted through unprotected sexual contact. Some of the symptoms – discharge from the penis or vagina, and a burning sensation when urinating – are particularly unpleasant. Furthermore, untreated gonorrhoea can cause serious health problems in later life, so it’s best to seek treatment from your GP or GUM clinic. Historically, sailors who displayed symptoms of gonorrhoea were subjected to an injection of mercury through the tip of the penis (which is enough to bring floods of tears to any man’s eyes!) Thankfully, however, treatment has moved on and now consists of a single dose of antibiotics, which is administered either by pill or injection (but not into the penis).
A free online Gonorrhoea postal test for people aged under-25 is available in some areas. Go to www.freetest.me. for more details.
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