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Gonorrhea and many other sexually transmitted infections can affect the throat, the anus and the urethra, and you don’t always get any symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get tested in all the places you’ve had sex, in order to get treatment if you have an infection, to get well and to avoid the risk of passing the sexually transmitted infection on to someone else.

Gonorrhea is increasing in Sweden, especially among guys who have sex with other guys. Gonorrhea is an infection that is transmitted very easily and it is treated with antibiotics. In other places of the world there’s now antibiotic resistant gonorrhea, i.e. gonorrhea that is untreatable. Many worry that this variatiety is going to affect Sweden too. Therefore it’s especially important to get tested, and to follow the treatment and the doctor’s instructions carefully.

Gonorrhea is found locally in the urethra, anus and throat or the cervix, depending on how and where you’ve had sex. Guys who get gonorrhea in the urethra often get symptoms like discharge and painful urination, but not always. If the infection is located in the anus or throat it’s common not to notice any symptoms at all. That’s why you can have gonorrhea without knowing about it. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.

Since gonorrhea can be present in different places it’s important to get tested on all parts of the body where you’ve had sex. You can’t diagnose a gonorrhea infection in the anus by taking a urine sample, or other tests from the urethra. Not all clinics are used to testing guys who have sex with other guys and therefore they might just routinely take a urine sample. Therefore it’s important that you yourself tell them what type of sex you’ve had and ask them to take samples where it’s relevant; in the throat and/or the anus and urethra.

All this means is that it’s a good strategy to get tested regularly in order to get treatment as fast as possible if needed. Once a year can be a good interval for those who have sex now and then with different partners. If you often have sex with new partners it’s a good idea to get tested more frequently, maybe every six months, every third month or even more often. It’s better to get tested too often than too seldom.

Like gonorrhoea, chlamydia is a local infection that needs to be tested in different parts of the body. When you get tested for gonorrhea you might as well get tested for chlamydia. Syphilis and HIV should also be tested for regularly. Get tested for the whole package!

 


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