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Anyone who is sexually active knows that it’s important to take every precaution when it comes to preventing STI’s (sexually transmitted infections). Getting tested regularly, open communication with your sex partner(s), and using condoms are the basics to stay free of potentially life-threatening infections. But too many of us are getting infected, even when we have the facts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the highest reported rates of infection are among sexually active teenagers, young adults, and African Americans.”
One of the most deceiving things about Gonorrhea is that many times the symptoms – in men and women – can go largely undetected. Gonorrhea likes to hide in the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes in women, and many times the discharges caused by the disease can be mistaken for other normal bodily functions. Many men infected with gonorrhea never have any symptoms, an alarming indication of how easy it could be to spread the disease.
Men should check to see if they have any of these symptoms:
- Abdominal pain, sometimes with nausea
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent and painful urination
- Yellow or greenish discharge
- Itching on or around the anus
- Sore throat
Keep in mind that half of women infected with gonorrhea do not exhibit any symptoms and a small number of men also never observe symptoms while infected with Gonorrhea. But it’s important to know that gonorrhea symptoms usually begin within the first 14 days of infection. Know your body.
The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting gonorrhea:
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results;
- Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
While sexually active teenagers are most at-risk for gonorrhea infections, African Americans report the highest number of cases compared to other races. So it’s clear that young, black teenagers should pay the most attention to this information. Get educated. Protect yourself by considering sexual abstinence, or latex condoms if necessary.
This article originally submitted by staff writer Ifreke Okpokowuruk, an aspiring musician from Charlotte, North Carolina.