Gonorrhoea in the throat is being transmitted between men who have sex with men.

An Australian study of 60 male couples, published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, showed that a high number of men had a gonorrhoea infection in the throat and/or anus without having a urethral infection.



“Earlier studies found high rates of gonorrhoea in the throat but this is the first study to find strong evidence of gonorrhoea transmission via kissing, rimming or using saliva as a lubricant,” said Matthew Hodson, executive director of AIDS charity NAM.

The research shows that when one man in a couple had throat gonorrhoea, in 23 percent of cases his partner had it too, and when one man in a couple had anal gonorrhoea his partner had throat gonorrhoea 34 percent of the time.

When one man had urethral gonorrhoea, in 74 percent of cases his partner had the infection in his throat.

Kissingcouple.jpeg?resize=430%2C287&ssl=1Gonorrhoea can be spread through kissing.

These numbers are too high to occur by chance, and the study concluded that the STI is being transmitted by infected saliva.

Gonorrhoea in the throat has no symptoms, compared to the urethral infection which usually causes discharge and a burning sensation when passing urine.

According to NAM, the researchers said: “Public health messaging may need to discuss the risk of gonorrhoea transmission during sexual activity that involves saliva. Also, a novel gonorrhoea prevention strategy currently under investigation is the use of an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce the prevalence of throat gonorrhoea.”

“The study demonstrates once again that when it comes to STIs you can reduce risk but eliminating all risk will be impractical for most people who are sexually active. Gonorrhoea in the throat is likely to have no noticeable symptoms so regular testing is recommended,” said Hodson.

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