Bad news, oral sex lovers: it’s producing nasty STI gonorrhoea and the number of us not using condoms while doing the need is fuelling the spread of it.
The necessary, albeit party pooping, revelation has come courtesy of the World Health Organization, which warns that the disease is much harder to treat than it used to be and has in some cases proved impossible. It is quickly becoming resistant to antibiotics and there are few new drugs in the pipeline.
Experts are describing the situation as “fairly grim” and asking all countries to take it seriously, monitoring the spread of resistant strains (the terrifyingly named super-gonorrhoea) and investing in research to make new medication available.
How is gonorrhoea spread?
Some 78 million people contract gonorrhoea every year. It is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex and can infect the genitals, rectum and throat, with experts most concerned about the latter. There is a fear that antibiotics used to treat common throat infections will lead to gonorrhoea bacteria in the back of the throat developing resistance.
Can I get it from kissing?
No. The NHS says that gonorrhoea isn’t spread by kissing, hugging, sharing baths or towels, swimming pools, toilet seats or sharing cups because the bacteria cannot survive outside the human body for long.
How do I know if I have it?
Worryingly, gonorrhoea can be tricky to detect. One in ten heterosexual men and over three quarters of women and gay men have no obvious symptoms.
However, if you notice a thick green or yellow discharge, pain when peeing and bleeding in between periods, you might want to get yourself checked out at your local sexual health clinic.
How is it diagnosed?
Testing is easy: a swab sample is taken from your genitals and men can pee in a pot. Find your nearest sexual health clinic by entering your postcode here.
What happens if it is left untreated?
Untreated gonorrhoea can be dangerous, leading to infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease. It can also be passed onto children during pregnancy and cause blindness in newborn babies.
How do I protect myself from it?
Use condoms, including for oral sex. Doing so might not be sexy but until you know that your partner is clear of all STIs, it’s surely worth it. Don’t share unwashed sex toys, either.
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