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Clap is a slang term for gonorrhea. This term has been used since the 16th century. It refers to the historic treatment for gonorrhea which involved clapping the penis simultaneously on both sides. This treatment was intended to clear the gonorrhea pus from the urethra. Today the clap is treated using antibiotics, but the term remains in common use.
The clap is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhea. This bacterium is most commonly found in the vagina, especially near the cervix. It can also live in the urethra, the back of the throat (when contracted through oral sex), and the rectum (when contracted during anal sex).
Men with the clap typically experience painful, burning sensations during urination and penile discharge. Half of all women with the clap are asymptomatic. Others experience vaginal discharge or pelvic pain.
The clap is generally transmitted during sexual contact, but can also pass from a mother to her newborn baby during labor. The clap can spread without treatment and cause epididymitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or joint and heart valve problems. According to the World Health Organization, 62,000,000 cases of the clap occur every year. It is the second most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States.