Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD).
See also: Disseminated gonococcemia
Clap; The drip
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Anyone who has any type of sex can catch gonorrhea. The infection can be spread by contact with the mouth, vagina, penis, or anus.
The bacteria grow in warm, moist areas of the body, including the tube that carries urine out of the body (urethra). In women, the bacteria may be found in the reproductive tract (which includes the fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix). The bacteria can even grow in the eyes.
Health care providers in every state in the U.S. are required by law to tell their State Board of Health about anyone diagnosed with gonorrhea. The goal of this law is make sure the patient gets proper follow-up care and that their sexual partners are found and tested.
More than 700,000 persons in the United States get gonorrhea every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Gonorrhea is more common in large cities, inner-city areas, populations with lower overall levels of education and people with lower socioeconomic status.
You are more likely to develop this infection if you:
- Have multiple sexual partners
- Have a partner with a past history of any sexually transmitted disease
- Do not use a condom during sex
- Have a drug addiction
Review Date: 03/17/2011
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (5/30/2009).