I am not sure how many people know that April is STD awareness month. Sexually Transmitted Diseases used to be called Venereal Disease and in recent times they are sometimes called Sexually Transmitted Infections. But whatever the name, many of these diseases have been around for hundreds of years and some seem here to stay. And many STD's aren't just a source of great discomfort and inconvenience. Some carry severe risks such as cervical cancer in women being linked to the Human Papiloma Virus. Another potential risk to acquiring an STD may be a sacrifice of your reproductive health. Some statistics show that as many as 15% of all infertile American women are infertile because of tubal damage caused by untreated STD. And 12% of all infertile American men are infertile because of inflammation of the testicles and sterility caused by untreated STD. And then of course there is AIDS which, if left untreated, can kill you.
So it is clear that STD's can present a serious risk to one's overall health not to mention one's sex life. STD's are highly communicable and can easily be passed on to others. Most times the person passing along the STD to their sexual partner doesn't even know they have done so because they are unaware that they have an STD themselves.
You think it couldn't happen to you? Guess again. The CDC reports that 19 million new infections occur in America every year. Still yet other statistics show that one in four people will have an STD at some point during his or her life.
So getting an STD could definitely happen to you unless you completely abstain from having sex for your entire life. And for most of us that is not likely.
There are many STD's we can talk about but I am going to focus on one of the more popular STDs which continues to pose a threat to our sexual health. I am sure many of you have heard of gonorrhea but how much do you know about the ease of which this disease can be transferred to others? And likewise are you aware of the symptoms of this disease? Would you know if you had gonorrhea? I hope to provide some answers within the scope of this article.
What is Gonorrhea?
Perhaps you know this STD by another name, "The Clap." Of course I had to research why it is named "The Clap" and found two competing answers. Some say that the name refers to an old fashioned treatment where they would clear the blockage in the urethra from gonorrhea pus, where the penis would be 'clapped' on both sides simultaneously. Ouch! That sounds rather painful doesn't it? Another source says that the name originates from the Old French word "clapoir", which refers to a sexual sore. I suppose each suggestion seems plausible.
But moving right along...
Gonorrhea is a common bacterial STD caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Don't ask me to spell that twice! This type of bacteria likes to grow in warm, moist areas. And what could be more conducive than your reproductive system including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. But did you know that it can also grow in the mouth, throat eyes, and anus? Not a pretty picture.