Gonorrhoea, also known as 'the clap', is the second most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK. The groups at most risk are men aged 20-24 and women aged 16-19, but anybody can catch it. The bacterium that causes the infection is found mainly in the semen and vaginal fluids of infected men and women, so it's easily transmitted through unprotected (condomless) sexual contact. Some of the symptoms – discharge from the penis or vagina, and a burning sensation when urinating - are particularly unpleasant. Untreated gonorrhoea can cause serious health problems in later life, so seek treatment from your GP or GUM clinic as soon as possible if you think you've got it.
How to Avoid
Always use condoms during all sexual contact, and avoid sex with anyone you think may have symptoms of an STI of any kind. Using condoms consistently for all sexual contact will enormously reduce your risk of catching the clap and other STIs.
The sooner you get tested and treated the better, as this can help to reduce the severity of the infection and prevent you passing it on to other people. Treatment is normally straightforward and involves a dose of antibiotics and follow-up testing. If you test positive, you will be encouraged to inform all sexual partners from the past six months, as they may also be at risk.