What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Nigeria. Several sources have cited gonorrhea as the most prevalent STD in Nigeria with millions of cases recorded yearly.
Gonorrhea is caused by a species of Gram-negative bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The bacterium is also known as gonococcus.
Mode of spread of gonorrhea in Nigeria:
As with most STIs, gonorrhea is spread from one patient to another through unprotected sex. The infection can be spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Gonorrhea can also be passed from an infected mother to her child during birth.
Studies have shown that sexually active women younger than 25 and men who have sex with other men are more susceptible to getting infected with gonorrhea in Nigeria.
How to know if you have contracted gonorrhea in Nigeria
There are many symptoms to show a person has become infected with gonorrhea in Nigeria. These symptoms may vary from person to person and some people, women especially, can have an asymptomatic form of the infection. This situation could make it worse to manage the disease and increase its spread.
The primary symptoms of gonorrhea in Nigeria include:
- Discharge from the penis. The discharge could be white, yellow, or green.
- Discharge from the vagina. The discharge could be yellow or blood red.
- Difficulty/burning pain when urinating.
- Burning in the throat or difficulty while swallowing.
Some patients may also experience discharge from the anus, pain during sex, pain or swelling in the testicles and itchy eyes.
Note: Some of these symptoms could also indicate other STIs. The best way to be sure of which infection you have is to go for a medical test.
The best treatment options for gonorrhea in Nigeria
A gonorrhea infection is relatively easy to treat in Nigeria. A number of treatment options are available and some of them are sold over the counter at the drug store.
Antibiotics for the treatment of gonorrhea in Nigeria
The usually recommended treatment for gonorrhea in Nigeria is a single dose of 500mg ceftriaxone injection given intramuscularly.
Another option is to use 250mg of ceftriaxone in combination with either 1g of azithromycin given orally or 100mg of doxycycline given orally twice daily for 7 days.
Other antibiotics that can be used to treat gonorrhea in Nigeria are:
- A single dose of 2g azithromycin is used to treat uncomplicated gonorrhea in persons that could not take cephalosporins.
- Single dose of 3g amoxicillin can also be used to treat uncomplicated gonorrhea in adults.
Note that taking high doses of antibiotics at once could cause minor stomach disturbance.
It is important to also note that a more serious strain of gonorrhea has been found and reported to be spreading fast. This super gonorrhea strain shows resistance to previously used antibiotics and could be harder to treat.
What is syphilis?
Syphilis is another sexually transmitted infection which often starts off as a painless sore in the genitals, rectum, or mouth, and if not treated properly can lead to severe health issues such as damage to the brain, eyes, or heart, blindness, or arthritis. Syphilis can be passed from person to person through contact with the sore of an infected person during sexual activity.
This syphilis sore is called chancre and is usually painless. A dangerous and tricky part of syphilis is that it can stay inactive in an infected person for years before it comes back in full force, at which time it has reached an advanced stage. Although majorly transmitted through sex, syphilis can also be spread through physical contact with the chancre (sore) of an infected person.
How to know if you have contracted syphilis in Nigeria
There are different stages of syphilis namely: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary syphilis, and each stage come with its complications.
The major symptom of primary syphilis infection is one or more painless chancres (sores) on the skin, mouth, or genitals.
Usually, this sore can go away on its own but this does not mean the person no longer has syphilis. The secondary stage of the disease comes with a characteristic rash called the “syphilis rash”. Like the chancre, this rash can also go away on its own without treatment.
If left untreated, syphilis can progress to the tertiary stage which is usually more serious and causes numbness, stroke, deafness, blindness, brain damage, among others. Syphilis can still be cured at this stage but the damage done cannot be reversed.
The best treatment options for syphilis in Nigeria
The primary treatment for syphilis in Nigeria is penicillin taken as a single dose of 2.4 million units of intramuscular benzathine penicillin G (BPG).
Other acceptable antibiotics for treating syphilis in Nigeria are:
- Doxycycline – 100mg taken orally twice for 28 days
- Tetracycline – 500 mg taken orally four times daily for 28 days.
- Studies have also shown that a single dose of 2g azithromycin is very effective in treating early-stage syphilis.
General prevention tips for STIs in Nigeria
- Always use a condom
- Go for regular checkups; alone or with your spouse
- Avoid multiple sex partners
- Inculcate a responsible sex life.
- Avoid sharing of sharp objects with others
- Pay close attention to your body, and visit the doctor at the slightest disturbing change.