“The Clap” – It isn’t about applause

By Sister Ophelia Onassis


I was talking to a dear friend the other day about my work as a Sister and our efforts to educate our community about safer sex. In a moment of insight, he noted that much is said today about HIV and AIDS prevention, but wondered about prevention information for all the other little nasties that are out there to make our sexual lives, well, shall we say “less satisfying”.

I can tell you that having a burning sensation when I’m in the bathroom doing number 1 is one way to curb my generally rampant libido. I mean, if it burns to pee, something’s wrong! Right? I’m also not turned on by the sight of a creamy or greenish discharge emanating from my sexual partner’s favorite “naughty bits”.

The above are early symptoms of a nasty little germie called Gonorrhea (The Clap). In addition to testicular pain, other symptoms include:

  • Rectal Infection
  • Constipation
  • Creamy, pus-like discharge
  • Itching
  • Painful bowel movement with blood in feces
  • Rectal bleeding

In Women

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Creamy or green, pus-like or bloody vaginal discharge
  • Excessive bleeding during menstrual period
  • Irritation of the vulva
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Painful intercourse
  • Painful urination (burning sensation)

You see – this little germie is out to make our lives a living hell! It’s been around for quite awhile (hundreds, if not thousands of years). The bacteria that causes The Clap makes itself at home in our warm, mucous areas – like the eyes, nose, throat, vagina, rectum, or penis.

Symptoms generally appear 2 to 7 days after infection in males, but it can take longer for symptoms to appear. This ikky bug is often insidious – sometimes not letting you know that you’ve got an unpleasant tenant calling your beautiful body home. Nearly 80% of women will not exhibit any symptoms of the disease, and neither will 10 – 15% of men.

Left untreated, Gonorrhea can cause epididymitis in men, a condition that is an inflammation of the testicles that causes sterility. In women, Gonorrhea causes abscesses, ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus), PID (spreads from vagina to the fallopian tubes and causes sterility), perhepatitis (an infection around the liver), and sterility. Women can pass the infection to newborns through eye infections as the baby makes its way through the birth canal. In all cases, left to its own devices, Gonorrhea will eventually infect the brain (in rare cases), heart valves, and joints.

You’re probably thinking “Holy Shit!” right now. Well, the good news is that, caught early, Gonorrhea is easily treated. A visit to your doctor, or public health agency clinic, can get you fixed up lickety-split! The doctor will administer penicillin or other antibiotics by pill (if you’re lucky) or by injection (it only hurts a little).

You can prevent transmitting or receiving Gonorrhea by practicing safer sex – use condoms, practice monogamy – and for the love of Pete (or Tom, or Bruce, or Robert, or Keith, or well you get the idea), wash your hands “afterwards” to prevent the spread of the ikkies to your eyes!

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