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Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. Anyone who is sexually active can get gonorrhea. Gonorrhea can also be spread from a mother to her baby during delivery, possibly causing eye infection (gonococcal conjunctivitis, or ophthalmia neonatorum), joint infection, or a life-threatening blood infection in the baby. North Carolina law requires that pregnant women be screened for gonorrhea at intervals during pregnancy and that newborns receive an antibiotic prophylactic eye ointment as a preventive measure against gonorrheal conjunctivitis.

Gonorrhea can affect the anus, eyes, mouth, genitals, or throat. Some infected people do not have symptoms. If symptoms occur, they may vary in men and women depending on what part of the body is infected.

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men, including infertility, chronic pain, joint problems and blood infections, which can be deadly. The disease also makes people more likely to contract HIV or transmit it to others.

Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics, although some antibiotic-resistant forms are harder to treat. As with all STDs, is best to prevent infection in the first place. Consistent and correct use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of transmission, but the surest way to avoid infection is to abstain from sexual intercourse or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.

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