Gonorrhoea can affect different parts of the body from contact with infected secretions. For example, the neck of the womb in women (cervix), the throat, rectum and urinary passage in both men and women.
In recent years Penicillin-resistant strains of the organism have become increasingly common (30-40 per cent of cases). Penicillin resistant infections need to be treated with alternatives to penicillin antibiotics to provide a cure.
What are the symptoms?
The infection is usually noticeable in the form of discharge from the penis and sometimes pain on urination. Men usually notice symptoms within days (rarely weeks) of being infected.
Many infected WOMEN have no specific symptoms. If left untreated, a certain proportion may go on to develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Other infected sites such as throat or rectum are less likely to cause any specific symptoms but are capable of passing on the infection to others.
How is it diagnosed?
Swabs from the genital or throat areas are taken and sent to a laboratory. Results are generally available in three to four days.
The following measures are advised if someone is diagnosed with gonorrhoea:
- Refrain from any sexual activity while you are under treatment.
- Do not resume sex with your regular partner until you have both completed the course of antibiotics and are both clear on the follow-up tests.
- Keep consumption of alcohol to a minimum during treatment.
- MAKE SURE THAT ALL RECENT PARTNER(S) ARE TREATED, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. All partners of a man for at least 3 weeks prior to their symptoms should be treated whilst partners of women even further back in time may need to be seen.
- FOLLOW-UP TESTS AFTER TREATMENT ARE VERY IMPORTANT because there are newer strains of these bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO HOLD YOUR URINE FOR AT LEAST 3-4 hours before coming in for your check-up so that it will be easier to confirm whether the condition is cleared.
How is it treated?
Usually the antibiotic is given in one dose either as an injection or one lot of oral tablets. In general, unless the particular strain is known to be sensitive to Penicillin, it is best that a medication that covers for Penicillin resistance is used rather than Penicillin.
Free and confidential treatment and advice for STIs such as gonorrhoea, is available from the Sexual Health Service, free call from anywhere in Tasmania, 1800 765 859, or