Infectious agent: Gonorrhea, caused by the gram negative diplococci bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Description of illness:
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported STD in the United States. Gonorrhea affects both women and men. Gonorrhea is often asymptomatic among women; without early detection and treatment, gonorrhea can cause permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system, which can lead to pelvic infection, ectopic pregnancy, and even infertility. Urethral gonorrhea in men can cause painful urination and purulent discharge from the penis. Gonorrheal infection can also exist in a person’s oropharynx or rectum. Effective treatment for gonorrhea exists. All sexually active women aged 24 years and younger should be screened for gonorrhea annually. Additionally, screening should be considered for men who have sex with men as well as older women with additional risk factors (more than one sex partner, or a sex partner with an STD).