The World Health Organisation has estimated that 78 million people are infected with gonorrhoea every year worldwide.
Data released in 2017 revealed that notifications for gonorrhoea, also known as 'the clap', had increased by 63 per cent in the past five years, particularly among young city-dwelling heterosexual men and women. Researchers in Melbourne at Monash University have found something new: it may be possible to spread gonorrhoea through deep kissing (“French kissing”, or kissing with tongues) rather than just through sexual contact as previously assumed.
Until now, gonorrhoea was supposed spread through vaginal, oral and anal sex. It is characterised by a coloured discharge from the genitalia, pain or a burning sensation when urinating and inflammation or even no specific symptoms. But people participate in oral sex. The study included more than 3000 men, six per cent of whom had tested positive for oral gonorrhoea. Researchers say the proportion of men testing positive for throat gonorrhoea was higher than it was for those who had sex without kissing. “We know it’s unlikely that people will stop kissing, and our team is already doing a clinical trial examining whether daily use of mouthwash could prevent gonorrhoea. If it works, it could be a simple and cheap intervention for everyone,” the rsearchers said.