Australian researchers have raised the alarm over another method of spreading gonorrhoea, saying new evidence has shown that kissing with tongues could spread the sexually transmitted infection (STI). The scientists in Melbourne, Australia, surveyed 3,000 gay and bisexual men and found that gay men were more likely to have gonorrhoea in their throat than in their penis – and the risk of spreading the bacteria that causes the disease was greater for kissing than through oral sex.
To this end, Professor Eric Chow and his colleagues that conducted the study, urged doctors and scientists to find new ways of stopping the infection and highlighted that efforts were currently focused on encouraging condom use during sex. The findings of the new study is published in the journal ‘Sexually Transmitted Infections’, which is part of the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Although, the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom (UK) had dismissed kissing as a way of contracting gonorrhoea, based on the study, the scientists reiterated that the STI could be caught through mouth-tomouth.Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. It used to be known as “the clap”.
The bacteria are mainly found in discharge from the penis and in vaginal fluid. Gonorrhoea is easily passed between people through: unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex.. According to the researchers, spreading the gonorrhoea, this way might be more common than expected. The tea, found the bacteria causing the gonorrhoea could present as a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes.
The research into oropharyngeal gonorrhoea followed growing concerns about ‘super’ strains of the STI that were becoming resistant to medicine. Professor Eric Chow and his colleagues that conducted the study, said a number of pieces of evidence suggest transmission of gonorrhoea from the oropharynx [back of the throat] may be more common than previously thought. “[The bacteria] can be cultured from saliva, suggesting that the exchange of saliva between individuals may potentially transmit gonorrhoea. “Several case reports in the 1970s suggested kissing as a mode of transmission for oropharyngeal gonorrhoea… but kissing has always been neglected as a risk factor.”.
Professor Chow said a rise in global reports of gonorrhoea strains which are evolving to stop antibiotics working against them was cause for concern. Discovering a way the bacteria are spreading under the radar could lead to new ways of spotting it sooner and preventing infections, the researchers said.
The study showed that men in the study were more likely to have gonorrhoea in their throat than in their penis or anus. Similarly, more than six per cent had the infection in their mouth while just under six per cent had it in their anus, and only three per cent in the penis.