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Is gonorrhoea incurable?

Published:Monday | January 11, 2016 | 1:04 AMCathy Risden

According to international news reports, since 2012, the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea, (also known as 'clap' or 'drip') may soon be untreatable. This is because of the strain of neisseria gonorrhoea - a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the mucus membranes of the body that resist antibiotic treatment.

The venereal disease involves inflammatory discharge from the urethra or vagina and is a contagious disease transmitted most often through the exchange of sexual contact or bodily fluids with an infected person.

It was found that besides experiencing a greenish yellow or whitish vaginal discharge, women have lower abdominal or pelvic pain, conjunctivitis (red, itchy eyes), bleeding between periods, spotting after intercourse, swelling of the vulva (vulvitis), burning in the throat. Men also experience burning when they urinate and an unusual discharge.

Director of Health Promotion and Prevention at the National Family Planning Board, Andrea Campbell told Flair, that these symptoms will begin to manifest in men within three days, while for women it might take months. She notes that many women with gonorrhoea think they have a yeast infection and self-treat with over-the-counter yeast infection drugs. Because vaginal discharge can be a sign of a number of different diseases and health issues, it is best to always seek the advice of a doctor to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

 

Incurable

 

Dr Nicola Skyers, senior medical officer, HIV, STI TB Unit, at the Ministry of Health told Flair that the ministry is currently engaged in a study to ascertain the pattern in Jamaica. But, in the interim, it is important that individuals practise safe sex.

Campbell noted that persons who are infected have a tendency to not take their medication on time or in full. And, as a result, an increase in resistance to the antibiotic treatment might develop. "If you don't take your medication properly, the medication won't work. Adhere to the medication. Take all of it, every day and on time. And don't share medication," Campbell stresses.

Campbell also shared the ABCD acronym as a preventive method for STIS and other deadly diseases.

• Abstinence

• Be faithful, have one partner

• Condom use

• Do it yourself

She also encouraged individuals to visit the nearest health centre, for more information and treatment, which is free. The wait might be long and tedious but it is worth it. "The responsibility is on you the individual to protect yourself," Campbell added.

cathy.risden@gleanerjm.com