People Urged to Get Tested as Cases of Gonorrhoea Rise

Local people across Forth Valley are being urged to practice safer sex and to get tested if they have been at risk following a large increase in cases of gonorrhoea.

In 2019, 164 cases of gonorrhoea were reported in Forth Valley however in 2022 more than 270 cases were confirmed with the biggest increase being amongst young people aged between 19 and 25.

Along with several other Health Boards across Scotland, sexual health experts in NHS Forth Valley are now encouraging anyone who has had unprotected sex to get tested and stress the importance of using condoms to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

NHS Forth Valley Consultant in HIV and Genito Urinary Medicine, Dr Kirsty Abu-Rajab, said: “The best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections is to practice safer sex by using a condom and get tested if you have been at risk. Gonorrhoea infection is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex and can also infect the throat and eyes.

Symptoms of gonorrhoea can include:

  • green or yellow fluid coming out of the penis
  • pain or a burning sensation when passing urine
  • discomfort and swelling of the testicles
  • A change in vaginal discharge
  • pain in the lower tummy, particularly during sex
  • bleeding in between periods or after sex

“However, many people with gonorrhoea will not experience any symptoms and are at risk of passing the infection on to others. If left untreated, gonorrhoea can cause serious health problems and complications, including infertility in both men and women.”

Gonorrhoea can also be passed on from mother to baby at the time of birth, and can cause a severe eye infection in newly born infants, so it’s important to get checked if you are pregnant and think you have been at risk of infection.

Those at risk are being encouraged to get tested by contacting local sexual health services. Appointments can be booked by calling 01324 673554 (Monday to Friday 8.30am – 12.30pm) or booked online via the Central Sexual Health website