Which age groups are at highest risk for gonorrhea infection?

Updated: Jun 15, 2021
  • Author: Shahab Qureshi, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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The highest incidence of gonococcal infection in the United States in 2016 was among adults aged 20-24 years, in both men and women. [16, 17] This is likely due to the following:

  • Increased numbers of sexual partners
  • Decreased access to or use of health care
  • Physiologic ectopy of the squamocolumnar junction in females
  • Decreased use of barrier contraceptives

Infection in children is a marker for child sexual abuse and should be reported as such, although a 2007 review provided some support for nonsexual transmission between children and for transmission from adults to children related to poor hand hygiene. [30, 31]

Gonococcemia remains an important disease in the adolescent and young adult population, with a peak incidence in males aged 20-24 years and in females aged 15-19 years.

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