Monday, May 16, 2011

Do you know the difference between Gonorrhea and Syphilis?

I was talking this morning with Germanman, we were discussing Lyme disease and he said: "it's from a spirochete, just like Gonorrhea" I was completely shocked. He is a 39y old man, who happens to be a science writer and yet, he doesn't know the difference between gonorrhea and syphilis. I don't expect everyone to know that they are caused by 2 very different types of bacteria but, EVERYONE should at least know they are 2 different types of diseases! Lets clear the air:

- Gonorrhea. Caused by the diplococci Neisseria gonorrhoeae (usually found in pairs, looks like 2 kidney beans together). In guys it causes infection of the urethra. It is very painful to pee and there is a profuse secretion of a purulent discharge (white-yellowish). In women it infects the vagina, they can also have purulent discharge and it's itchy. Sometimes it can be completely asymptomatic.

- Syphilis. Caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum (looks like a piece of phone cord (remember phone cords?)). In both men and women it presents like an abscess (a nasty pimple) that can grow and it also secretes pus, sometimes it can look darker on the edges and it is very very painful. If left untreated syphilis can be a chronic infection. The spirochetes actually reach the brain and can cause early dementia (after 30y of being infected).

These STDs are not 100% prevented by the use of condoms, if there is any genital contact, not just penetration, they can be transmitted. The best policy is always ask a new sexual partner to be tested BEFORE you engage in sexual activities. Also, if anyone in the couple notices any of the symptoms I described above you BOTH should go to the doctor right away.


  1. Diana, not long ago, I read "In the Land Of Pain" by Alphonse Daudet. Daudet was a prominent French novelist of the late nineteenth century, who contracted syphilis. The book is a journal of his condition, treatment and suffering while expiring from that disease. It was excruciating, to say the least. Thank heaven for antibiotics.

  2. Dang! I'm so glad I don't have to worry about that sort of thing anymore. I have to confess, I didn't really know the difference. Thanks for clearing that up. How someone could have sex with someone they don't know very well is beyond me. There are so many risks these days.

  3. Definitely just barfed in my mouth. :(

  4. Yeah, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little, too...
    Sorry for my recent absence, btw. I was gone on a road trip.

  5. alghost is come back