What is gonorrhoea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both men and women. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. It is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24 years.
How is gonorrhoea spread?
You can get gonorrhoea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhoea. Gonorrhoea is easily spread, safe sex can reduce the risk of sharing gonorrhoea however it can still be spread.
How can I reduce my risk of getting gonorrhoea?
The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting gonorrhoea:
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results;
- Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
Am I at risk for gonorrhoea?
Any sexually active person can get gonorrhea through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, have an honest and open talk with your health care provider and ask whether you should be tested for gonorrhea or other STDs. If you are a sexually active man who is gay, bisexual, or who has sex with men, you should be tested for gonorrhoea every year. If you have had more than 10 sexual partners in less than 6 months it’s best to be tested every 6 months.
How do I know if I have gonorrhoea?
Some men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all. However, men who do have symptoms, may have:
- A burning sensation when urinating;
- A white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis;
- Painful or swollen testicles (although this is less common).
Rectal infections may either cause no symptoms or cause symptoms in both men and women that may include:
- Anal itching;
- Painful bowel movements.
Gonorrhoea in the throat is often symptom free making it easy to transmit via oral sex.
You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD, such as an unusual sore, a smelly discharge or burning and stinging when urinating.
How will my doctor know if I have gonorrhea?
Most of the time, urine can be used to test for gonorrhea. However, if you have had oral and/or anal sex, swabs may be used to collect samples from your throat and/or rectum. In some cases, a swab may be used to collect a sample from a man’s urethra (urine canal).
Can gonorrhea be cured?
Yes, gonorrhea can be cured with the right treatment. It is important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. Medication for gonorrhea should not be shared with anyone. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not undo any permanent damage caused by the disease.
It is becoming harder to treat some gonorrhea, as drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing. If your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, you should return to a health care provider to be checked again.
I was treated for gonorrhea. When can I have sex again?
You should wait seven days after finishing all medications before having sex. To avoid getting infected with gonorrhea again or spreading gonorrhea to your partner(s), you and your sex partner(s) should avoid having sex until you have each completed treatment. If you’ve had gonorrhea and took medicine in the past, you can still get infected again if you have unprotected sex with a person who has gonorrhea.
What happens if I don’t get treated?
Untreated gonorrhoea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men.
In men, gonorrhea can cause a painful condition in the tubes attached to the testicles. In rare cases, this may cause a man to be sterile, or prevent him from being able to father a child.
Rarely, untreated gonorrhea can also spread to your blood or joints. This condition can be life-threatening.
Untreated gonorrhea may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV – the virus that causes AIDS.