A noticeable increase in the number of gonorrhea cases in eastern Newfoundland has prompted Eastern Health to issue a reminder about the importance of safer sex practices.
Safer sex practices include the regular use of condoms and oral dams and routine testing for sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea.
Contracted through unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex, symptoms of the bacterial infection occur in the first two to five days, but sometimes may take as long as 30 to start. They may include pain with urination; abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina; and pain, discharge and bleeding from the rectum. It can also present as a sore throat. Many people have no symptoms so they can pass gonorrhea to their sex partners without knowing it.
Gonorrhea can be easily treated if detected early, but if left untreated, can lead to serious problems. In women, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause infertility or ectopic pregnancy. Other complications may include arthritis and widespread infection that can affect the skin, heart and brain.
Eastern Health says if you’ve had unprotected sex and are worried you may have contracted gonorrhea, it advises speaking with a health care professional and being tested as soon as possible.
For more information on gonorrhea and testing, the health authority suggests you call Planned Parenthood NL (1-877-666-9847), contact Eastern Health’s sexual health clinic (709 752-4882), or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit its STI health information website Take Care Down There.