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How do you get the clap?

Published: May 15, 2013

You may have heard people, whether it's from your friends or people on TV, talking about getting "the clap" or "the drip" before. Obviously, doctors refer to this by a different term. The clap is a slang name for gonorrhea, a common STD.

So how does one get the clap?

Gonorrhea is spread by having sex with an infected partner. You can get gonorrhea from all forms of sex, including oral, anal or vaginal sex. It may also be spread from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. 

Gonorrhea is most common among teens, young adults and African-Americans. In the last year, Knox County had a big increase in the number of people diagnosed with gonorrhea. The local rates are more than two times the overall rate for the state of Tennessee. In 2012, we saw 125 cases of gonorrhea among 15-19 year olds, and that's not counting the many other teens who may be infected but not realize it.

Most women and some men have no obvious symptoms. You might start to feel sick 1-4 days after infection. Check out our STD glossary for a list of symptoms.

The best way to find out if you have gonorrhea is to get tested. It's not unusual for people with gonorrhea to also have chlamydia. Gonorrhea also increases the risk of HIV infection. Due to all of this, you should get tested for all three diseases if you think you might have caught "the clap."  To find the nearest STD clinic, type your zip code in the clinic locator on the My Body, My Future home page. The staff at the clinic will ask you to pee in a cup (No “clapping” involved).

Gonorrhea is curable with antibiotics. Both you and your partner need to complete the treatment before having sex. You can get re-infected with gonorrhea even after treatment. 

The best way to avoid getting gonorrhea is not to have sex of any kind—oral, anal or vaginal. For those who choose to have sex, making a long-term commitment to one uninfected partner can help reduce the risk. Condoms are good protection against gonorrhea, but they must be used every time you have sex to be effective.


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