Gonorrhea FAQs

Gonorrhea FAQs

Can I get gonorrhea from a toilet seat?

Young lady seated on the toilet.

It is highly unlikely that you will get a gonorrhea infection from sitting on a toilet seat that an infected person has used.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria does not typically survive very long outside of the human body. The infection is transmitted through bodily fluids from person to person in order for gonorrhoea to be passed on.

Can gonorrhoea be cured?

Yes, gonorrhoea is completely treatable and can be cured.

How does gonorrhea affect pregnancy and childbirth?

The infected mother will pass on the infection to her baby through the birth canal during delivery. Complications can include premature delivery or a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage). An infection transmitted through childbirth can lead to blindness, joint infection or even a life-threatening blood infection in the baby.

The sooner a gonorrhoea infection is detected, diagnosed and treated in a pregnant woman, the lesser the risk of complications. All cases of gonorrhoea must be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional as soon as possible.

How can I prevent gonorrhoea?

Although curable, prevention is best. You can reduce your risk by:

  • Using a condom if you choose to have sex: Abstinence is the surest means of prevention, but if you choose to have sex, a condom during any type of sexual contact (anal, oral or vaginal) must be used (and used correctly).
  • Limiting your number of sex partners: It is also highly advisable not to go back and forth between partners.
  • Undergoing regular testing for sexually transmitted infections: You and your partner/s can be tested for infections on a frequent basis if you are both sexually active. There is no shame in asking a new partner whether he or she has had or would be willing to have themselves tested for any STD infection. You can also consider regular gonorrhoea screening. Annual screening is generally recommended for all sexually active women under 25 years of age or older women at a higher risk of infection (those who have a new sex partner, more than one sex partner, a sex partner with concurrent partners, or a sex partner with a known STD infection). Men who are sexually active with other men, as well as their partners are also encouraged to have regular screening.
  • Not having sex with anyone who has unusual symptoms: If it appears that your partner is experiencing any signs or symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection, such as a genital rash, or burning sensation during urination, avoid having sex with that person.

Why is gonorrhea called ‘the clap’?

One reason gonorrhoea is often referred to as ‘the clap’ is because of the old French term ‘clapier’ or ‘clapier bubo’, meaning ‘brothel’. ‘Clapier’ was also used to refer to a rabbit’s nest or hutch. There was a period, dating back to the 1580s when gonorrhoea was easily spread via brothels (prostitutes) and not sufficiently treated. A ‘bubo’ referred to an inflamed lymph node or infection in the groin area. ‘Clapier bubo’ was the term typically associated with those having visited a brothel.

The second theory relates to a rather nasty form of ‘treatment’ that involved clapping hard on both sides of a man’s penis (simultaneously) as a means of ridding the urethra of pus-like discharge. A third theory comes from an old English word ‘clappan’ which means ‘to beat’ or ‘to throb’ (both common ways to describe symptoms of burning, painful urination and throbbing sensations caused by inflammation).

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