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Signs that you might have gonorrhoea, and the weird reason infections are skyrocketing.

Gonorrhoea is on the rise in Australia. Significantly so. According to research released by the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute this week, notification rates of the ‘silent’ STI increased by 63 per cent between 2012 and 2016.

The ‘Annual Surveillance Report on HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs in Australia‘ found that there were 23,000 cases in 2016, with the biggest increase observed in the 25–40 age bracket.

But why?

Well, researchers aren’t entirely sure, but there are some theories.

Associate Professor Rebecca Guy, head of the Surveillance, Evaluation and Research Program at the Kirby Institute, told the ABC there is no concrete evidence to explain the jump: no increased testing, nor data to suggest reduced rates of condom use. Though she noted that it’s been several years since comprehensive sexual behaviour surveys have been conducted.

“There’s some surveys planned next year so they I think will be telling,” she said.

However sexual health campaigner Dr Wendell Rosevear believes that dating apps, and the casual hook ups they can sometimes involve, may be the culprit for the rise in STIs.

“In the past, people would often get a sense of belonging and community with social venues, such as nightclubs, but now some of those clubs are dying because people are becoming more reliant on social media and app connection,” he told news.com.au.

What is Gonorrhoea?

Commonly referred to as ‘the clap’, Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and can affect the urethra, cervix, anus, eyes and the throat.

If left untreated, it can spread to the uterus and Fallopian tubes and cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), a condition that can result in infertility.

What women are talking about this week. (Post continues below.)

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Signs of a Gonorrhoea infection.

According to the Federal Government’s Health Direct service, some men and most women generally don’t develop observable signs of gonorrhoea.

For women, when symptoms due occur, they generally present within 10 days of infection, and can include:

  • unusual vaginal discharge;
  • pain, discomfort or burning sensation when passing urine;
  • pelvic pain, especially during sex;
  • irregular bleeding, especially between periods or after sex;
  • anal discharge and discomfort; and
  • sore, dry throat.

In men, symptoms typically develop within one to three days. Among them are:

  • thick, yellow or white discharge from the penis;
  • pain, discomfort or burning sensation when passing urine;
  • pain in the testes (balls);
  • redness around the opening of the penis;
  • anal discharge and discomfort; and
  • sore, dry throat.

Prevention and treatment.

The first is simple: use of condoms and regular sexual health testing.

As the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre outlines, a Gonorrhoea test involves taking a swab from the urethra for male patients and the cervix for females. The throat or anus can also be swabbed, if necessary, and urine samples may also be taken.

If detected, gonorrhoea can be easily and effectively treated with antibiotics.

The above is not intended to replace medical advice. For more information, consult your doctor or visit a sexual health clinic.

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