THE number of reported cases of gonorrhoea in Northern Ireland is currently the highest on record.
2018 saw the number of diagnoses rise by an incredible 30% to 882 in just one year.
The Public Health Agency (PHA) have described the trend as “particularly concerning”.
A high majority (80%) of those diagnosed with the sexually transmitted disease were men, and a large proportion of those were homosexual men.
But there has also been a small rise in the number of reports of hetrosexuals contracting the disease.
While the rise in figures is worryingly high, the PHA are confident that this is partly due to the fact that more people are going for screening.
But doctors say they’re still very concerned that the 30% rise could indicate that antibiotics for the disease are becoming less effective.
“There is a real risk that antibiotic options will become less effective in the future,” said Dr Claire Neill, specialist registrar, PHA.
“It’s really important that we take steps to protect ourselves from becoming infected in the first place and reduce the potential for spreading gonorrhea by wearing condoms.”
What is gonorrhoea?
The disease is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
It’s spread by unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex.
It can lead to symptoms such as green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods.