What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a bacteria.

How do people get gonorrhea?

People get gonorrhea by having sex with someone who has the disease. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex. Gonorrhea can still be transmitted via fluids even if a man does not ejaculate. Gonorrhea can also be spread from an untreated mother to her baby during childbirth.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?

Some men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all. However, common symptoms in men include a burning sensation when urinating, or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis that usually appears 1 to 14 days after infection. Sometimes men with gonorrhea get painful or swollen testicles.

Most women with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. However, the initial symptoms in women can include a painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, even if symptoms are not present or are mild.

Untreated gonorrhea can increase a person’s risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV—the virus that causes AIDS.

How is gonorrhea diagnosed?

Most of the time, a urine test can be used to test for gonorrhea.

How do you treat it?

Oral antibiotics can cure the infection. Both partners must be treated at the same time to prevent passing the infection back and forth. Both partners should abstain from sex until the infection is gone. Persons with gonorrhea should be tested for other STDs.

How can gonorrhea be prevented?

Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of getting or giving gonorrhea. The most certain way to avoid gonorrhea is to not have sex or to be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.