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  • Dr. Lady Doctor

Harboring gonorrhea in your throat

Updated: Apr 2, 2023

Just when you thought it was safe to engage in "everything but" sex (pun intended) to maintain your virginity and please the abstinence-only crowd, the New York Times highlights the growing epidemic of oral gonorrhea. Oral gonorrhea (like many other STIs) often has no symptoms so people (men and women) can harbor gonorrhea in the throat without knowing it. The gonorrhea can then be passed to a partners' genitals during oral sex.

The CDC recommends annual screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia in anyone under age 25 and periodically or more frequently for other age groups based on risk factors such as new partner or known exposure. However, the screening site is traditionally the vagina, cervix or urine (for women) or urine (for men).

Bottom line: make sure you seek at least annual testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia if you are under 25 and don't hesitate to seek more frequent testing if you notice any symptoms (abnormal discharge, pain, bleeding between periods or after sex) or have a change in sexual partners f. If you engage in oral sex and are being tested, ask your doctor about the option of screening your throat as well. And even if testing for gonorrhea in the throat is not part of standard screening, early detection of genital or rectal gonorrhea will hopefully ensure early treatment and avoidance of the long term consequences such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy.

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