BLOG / Get the right test for gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is increasing in Sweden, and from 2014 to today we’ve seen an increase particularly among guys who have sex with other guys. Gonorrhea is also an infection that is transmitted easily, so once it has entered into a group, it easily spreads and can increase quite a lot and quite fast. There is a concern that resistant gonorrhea should establish itself in Sweden, but to date, all cases of gonorrhea in Sweden could be cured with antibiotics.
Gonorrhea sits locally in the urethra, rectum, and throat or at the cervix. Guys who get gonorrhea of the urethra usually get symptoms of discharge and pain when urinating, but not always. If the infection is in the rectum or throat, it is common for the person not to notice any symptoms at all. Therefore, one can have gonorrhea without knowing it. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.
Because gonorrhea is a local infection, the test must be taken locally. It is not possible to detect a gonorrhea infection in the rectum by taking urine samples or other samples from the urethra. Not all clinics are accustomed to sex between men, and as a result it often happens that they routinely just take a urine sample. Therefore, it may fall on you as a patient to tell the doctor or nurse what kind of sex you’ve had, and ask that they take the tests, where relevant, in the throat and/or the rectum and urethra.
Against this background, it is a good strategy to get tested regularly, so that you can get treatment as soon as possible if it is needed. Once a year can be a good interval if you have sex every now and then with different partners. It is difficult to come up with general guidelines, but for those who have sex with multiple partners every month – or maybe every week – it may be worthwhile to get tested more frequently than that. Every six months, every three months, or more often.
Like gonorrhea, chlamydia is a local infection, which must be tested locally. While you go and get tested for gonorrhea, you may as well get tested for chlamydia. Syphilis and HIV are also worth checking up with regularity. Get yourself tested for the whole package!