women with gonorrhea may contract an infection of the eyes that can result in blindness
if not treated promptly. The practice of applying silver nitrate drops to the eyes of all
newborn infants keeps this type of infection at a low incidence. Venereal diseases are
spread by homosexual contact as well as heterosexual contact. Susceptibility to VD is
universal. Contracting a venereal disease affords no immunity against the disease and
reinfection is common. There are no known immunizing agents against VD. The best
method of avoiding VD is abstaining from sexual contact with an infected person.
a. General. Gonorrhea ("clap," "dose," "the drip," "gleet," "strain") is the most
prevalent venereal disease among the reported VD cases in the US. It is caused
by the diplococcus Neisseria gonorrhea, frequently referred to as the gonococcus.
The gonococcus is a relatively delicate organism that requires both warmth and
moisture for its survival.
(1) Males. The classical symptoms of gonorrhea in the male consist of
yellow pus-like discharge from the penis accompanied by a burning sensation and
frequent urination. Symptoms may appear from 2 to 14 days after sexual exposure. In
some cases, the symptoms may be mild or absent altogether. Occasionally, the
incubation period may be 30 days or longer.
(2) Females. In females, infections without symptoms are very common.
When present, they are usually mild and may be overlooked or ignored. Symptoms in
females include increased vaginal discharge, yellow pus-like discharge from the cervix
and/or urethra, burning and frequent urination, and discomfort during sexual
intercourse. Women taking birth control pills may have an increased amount of vaginal
discharge; therefore, symptoms of gonorrhea may be masked. The value of clinical
examination in females cannot be overemphasized.
c. Complications. If untreated, gonorrhea may spread throughout the genital
organs, causing inflammation of the testicles and prostate gland in men and
inflammation of the fallopian tubes and related internal organs in women. Infections of
the throat and anus are not uncommon in either sex. In advanced cases, the
gonococcus may enter the bloodstream and cause arthritis, dermatitis, meningitis, or
d. Treatment. Gonorrhea can be treated with penicillin, tetracycline, or
spectionmycin. The disease does not "go away" like a common cold. Even if the
symptoms disappear, the disease is still present in the body and requires treatment.