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How much do you know about gonorrhoea? Could you spot the symptoms? Would you know what to do if you contracted it? If you’re in need of a bit of a refresher, you’re not the only one because figures just released from Public Health Scotland (PHS) show that cases of gonorrhoea are surging in Scotland.
The sexual health experts at YourGP delve into the potential reasons for this increase, explain why it is a major concern, and reveal what can be done about it.
Your guide to gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection which can be spread through unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex. Typical symptoms include a thick green or yellow discharge from the sexual organs, pain when urinating, and bleeding between periods.
Crucially however, vaginal and rectal infections often have no symptoms at all. And worryingly, if left untreated, gonorrhoea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
A historical high
The latest figures from PHS showed there were 5,641 diagnoses of gonorrhoea in 2022 – that’s a 49% increase on 2019. Rates of the infection have increased rapidly since May 2021, from three positive diagnoses per 100,000 people to a “historical high” of 17.2 per 100,000 in November 2022.
Reasons behind the rise
Gonorrhoea cases fell in 2020 when the number of people being tested fell dramatically as result of the covid pandemic. The number of positive cases remained low in 2021 partly because of the social distancing restrictions that were in place in that year. After the lifting of restrictions, more people got checked at sexual health clinics which goes some way in accounting for the rise in 2022.
A cause for concern
PHS describes the increase in cases of gonorrhoea as “concerning” and suggests it may “reflect both recovery of testing and diagnosis of infection which was undiagnosed during the Covid pandemic and an increase in incident infection which may be, in part, a consequence of transmission from undiagnosed individuals”.
Get yourself checked
The YourGP Sexual Health Clinic provides a comprehensive range of STI testing services, including testing for gonorrhoea. We offer short-notice appointments, a fast turnaround of test results, and effective treatments. We also offer complete confidentiality and the ability to remain anonymous.
Book an appointment online, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0131 225 5656 and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment at a time that suits you.
Halfway round the world from home (Australia) and really needed a GP. YourGP provided excellent prompt service. Made a call at 10.15am and was seen by a very caring doctor at 11.30am. Great ambassadors for Edinburgh.