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HIV+ with gonorrhea
Oct 2, 2000

I am HIV positive, with T cells around 250. I have had white discharge from my penis for around 10 days, and more recently some blood when obtaining an erection. I am currently working in a small village in a developing country, where there is only one poorly equipped clinic. The doctor there did a culture and found that I have gonorrhea, but says I have to travel to a larger city to obtain necessary antibiotics. My question is, will I be doing serious damage if I wait for one week before treatment? Also, I know that I will be receiving a single 400mg dose of an antibiotic called Cedax as treatment. Is this sufficient considering my HIV status? In addition, I will be obtaining medication for a woman who is also HIV+ and who also has gonorrhea. Will treatment differ? Thanks very much!

Response from Dr. Feinberg

Treatment for gonorrhea isn't different for men and women. Cedax must be a local brand name for a cephalosporin-class antibiotic, and these are usually effective against gonorrhea. You are unlikely to do serious damage by waiting a week, but the truth is that the sooner you're treated, the better. For women who have untreated gonorrhea, a more serious infection called pelvic inflammatory disease can develop. PID has the potential to cause/contribute to infertility, and it is painful and usually accompanied by fever. Treatment of gonorrhea is the same whether you're HIV+ or not.

Getting an STD is prima facie evidence of unsafe sex. Not only can you give HIV to someone else, you can (and did) get an infection from your partner. Every infection you get has the capacity to stimulate HIV production in your body. For your own sake as well as others', use a condom religiously.

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