The sexually transmitted disease – gonorrhea is also called “clap”. This is a bacterial infection caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae and affects both men and women. Infection is transmitted through vaginal, oral, and anal sex and infects the vagina, rectum, penis, eyes, and throat. Symptoms seen in women can be different from symptoms seen in men. Some people may have clap or gonorrhea without symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that gonorrhea is the second most commonly spread STDs in the United States. This infection can easily be cured by antibiotics. Proper treatment helps to avoid long-term problems.
What STD is the clap?
Gonorrhea is referred to as clap. It is believed that the name clap is derived from French or English language terms or can be derived from the painful treatment which was used to treat the disease.
- In French, the word “clapier” means brothel, a place where STDs such as gonorrhea can be transmitted.
- “Clappan” is an old English word that means to beat or throb, which can describe the pain caused by gonorrhea.
- The early treatment for gonorrhea, which was clapping a heavy object on the man’s penis to get pus/discharge to come out.
What’s Clap STD?
Clap is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that is very common among young men and women in the US. It is also referred to as “drip” which is related to the main symptoms of the clap – the genital discharge. Gonorrhea or clap is highly contagious. This infection is transmitted easily as most people do not experience any kind of symptoms.
When symptoms are present it may include painful or increased urination, white or yellow/greenish discharge, severe pain in the lower abdomen, and sore throat. People with gonorrhea may develop chlamydia or vice versa. If left untreated, it may cause PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) in women and testicular infection in men. In some cases, this infection may spread to the blood and the joints.
Causes of Clap
Gonorrhea or Clap is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria and spread through sexual contact ( vaginal, anal, or oral sex) or by blood. It can spread through the direct or indirect blood of an infected person. And the infected woman who is pregnant can pass on the infection to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth. People can pass on the infection to others, even if they don’t have any signs or symptoms.
Clap isn’t spread through casual contact like sharing food or drinks, kissing, coughing, sneezing, or sitting on toilet seats. A person who has had clap/gonorrhea and received treatment has the possibility of getting reinfected if they have sexual contact with an infected person. Having protected sex is the best way to prevent the infection.
A person with a clap may or mot not have symptoms. Symptoms of the clap may appear within one or two weeks after getting exposed to the infection. Symptoms seen in women can be different from symptoms seen in men. However, there are certain symptoms that both men and women may experience.
Common Symptoms of Clap:
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Painful bowel movements
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Rectal discharge
- Anal soreness and itching
Gonorrhea Symptoms in men:
- Yellow, or green discharge from the penis
- Pain and swelling in the testicle
- Discharge from the anus
- Pain and burning sensation during discretion
Gonorrhea Symptoms in women:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding between periods or heavy bleeding
- Vaginal itching and bleeding
Apart from these, gonorrhea can also affect the blood, heart, rectum, throat, eyes, skin, and joints. When the gonorrhea infection spreads to other parts of the body it is called Disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI).
Symptoms of DGI include:
- Fever or chills
- Pain in the tendons of the wrists and heels
- Pain in the joints
- Swelling of the joints
- A skin rash with red or pink spots
Clap can be diagnosed by several lab tests and doctors may also conduct a physical examination to check for the symptoms and other STIs. As gonorrhea and chlamydia are very similar, it is important to test for both to get the right treatment. The following are ways to diagnose the infection.
- A swab of the vagina or cervix (in women)
- A urine sample (in men)
- Doctors may perform a throat or anal culture to see if the infection is in those areas
- A swab of the mouth or rectum
A sample of blood is taken, if the doctors suspect a joint infection or infection in the blood. Along with gonorrhea, doctors may recommend the infected person to test for chlamydia, hepatitis B, syphilis, and HIV. The CDC also recommends screening for pregnant women to prevent them from passing gonorrhea to their babies.
Who is at risk?
- Men and women who have multiple sex partners
- Sexually active people
- Men who have sex with men
- People with other sexually transmitted infections
- People who have had gonorrhea
- The person having unprotected sex with a new partner
Getting tested for gonorrhea is the only way to diagnose the infection. This will help to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to others and helps to avoid complications of clap.
Is clap curable?
Yes, clap or gonorrhea can be completely cured with proper treatment and early detection. But the treatment can’t repair or reverse any damage that has already occurred, it prevents further damages.
Treatment for Clap
Usually, clap or gonorrhea is treated using antibiotics. But certain strains of gonorrhea resist the antibiotics, which is referred to as “super gonorrhea.” In such cases, doctors may recommend two antibiotics in shot and pill form. Antibiotics available for treatment may include:
These antibiotics typically cure the infection in one or two weeks, so it is really essential for a person to take the prescribed medicine until the recommended course of treatment has finished. Consult the doctor if you continue to have symptoms even after the medications. It becomes harder to treat the infection if a person takes someone else’s medication.
A person who undergoes treatment must avoid sexual contact until the course of treatment is completed. And, a person with a clap needs to notify their partner, so they can be tested and treated if necessary. It is recommended to get tested again after 3 months to make sure the infection is completely gone.
What happens if the clap is left untreated?
Clap can cause complications all over the body if left untreated. Treatment taken at the right time can prevent future problems.
- Chances of getting HIV are increased
- Pelvic inflammatory disease in women
- Epididymitis in men, which lead to infertility
- Blood and joint infection
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Chronic pain
- Blindness, joint infections, or blood infections among babies
All pregnant women are advised to get tested for gonorrhea or other STIs to prevent the transmission of the disease to their babies. Sexually active people should get tested regularly to avoid unknowingly spreading the disease.
- Having protected sex
- Limiting the number of sexual partners
- Getting tested for gonorrhea and other STIs
- Avoid douching
- Avoid sex with someone who appears to have a sexually transmitted infection
- Engage in a monogamous relationship
Clap and HIV
A person with STIs including clap is prone to Human Immunodeficiency Viruses. The viral load increases when a person has both gonorrhea and HIV. A person who is taking ART (antiretroviral treatment) has to consult a doctor before taking the medication for the clap.
Clap during pregnancy
Having clap or gonorrhea during pregnancy may lead to:
- Preterm birth
- Pre-labor rupture of membranes
- Infection of the amniotic sac and fluid
In most cases, the eyes of the newborns are affected, when the infection is passed on. The US Preventive Services Task Force and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend that all babies be treated with medicated eye drops or ointments soon after birth to prevent the infection.
Early detection and proper treatment may reduce the risk of these problems. This condition can be treated with antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy.
Facts about Clap
- According to CDC, gonorrhea or clap is a very common infection especially among young people (15-24 years).
- In 2017, 555,608 cases of gonorrhea were reported in the US.
- WHO estimated there are 376 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis each year.
- Drug resistance is a major threat to reducing the impact of STIs worldwide, especially for gonorrhea.
- In the US at least 2.8 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection each year.
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Preventive Services Task Force recommend gonorrhea screening for all sexually active women below the age of 24.