Gonorrhea is a curable sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is the second most commonly reported bacterial STI in the United States following chlamydia. In 2004, 330,132 cases of gonorrhea were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When examining race and ethnicity, age, and gender, the highest rates of gonorrhea were found in African Americans, 15 to 24 years of age, and women, respectively.
Gonorrhea can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID affects more than 1 million women in this country every year and can cause tubal (ectopic) pregnancy and infertility in as many as 10 percent of infected women. In addition to gonorrhea playing a major role in PID, some health researchers think it adds to the risk of getting HIV infection.