What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection of the urethra in men and the urethra, the cervix, or both in women. Gonorrhea can also infect the rectum, the throat, the pelvic organs, and rarely, the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the eyelid and eye surface. Gonorrhea is transmitted by sexual contact.
 
Common nonmedical names for gonorrhea are clap, drip, or GC.
 

What causes gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
 

How common is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is the second most reported sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. It is reported annually in about 600,000 people. It is believed that another 1 million cases go unreported each year.
 
Approximately 75% of all cases of gonorrhea reported by health professionals to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are in people 15 to 29 years old. Teenage girls ages 15 to 19 and men ages 20 to 24 have the highest rates of infection.
 

How is gonorrhea spread?

Gonorrhea can be spread during vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected partner. A pregnant woman may pass the infection to her newborn during delivery.
 
Gonorrhea can be transmitted any time by an infected person, whether or not symptoms are present. An infected person is contagious until he or she has been treated.
 

How do I prevent gonorrhea?

The only sure way to prevent gonorrhea to to avoid sex (including oral sex) before marriage. Once you are married, if you and your spouse are both faithful to each other and do not enter the marriage relationship with gonorrhea it is impossible to acquire this disease. Therefore saving sex until marriage and marrying a faithful partner who was not previously exposed to gonorrhea is the only absolute way to avoid this STD.
 

What symptoms will I have?

About half of those infected don't have symptoms. People who do not have symptoms may unknowingly transmit gonorrhea infections to their sex partners. If symptoms are present, they may include painful urination; anal itching or bleeding; or abnormal discharge from the urethra in men or from the urethra, the cervix, or both in women. The throat, anus, and rectum are common areas of infection in both men and women.
 
In men, symptoms are usually serious enough that they will seek medical evaluation before complications occur. In women, the early symptoms are sometimes so mild that they are mistaken for a bladder infection or vaginal infection.
 

What increases my risk of getting gonorrhea?

Risk factors for gonorrhea include:

  • Having multiple sex partners.
  • Having high-risk partner(s) (partner has multiple sex partners or gonorrhea-infected sex partners).
  • Starting sexual activity before age 18.

 
Women are at higher risk of getting gonorrhea than men.
 

How is gonorrhea treated?

Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotic treatment, if taken exactly as directed, normally cures gonorrhea infections. If antibiotics are not taken properly, the infection will not be cured. Prompt antibiotic treatment also prevents the spread of the infection and decreases complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
 

If gonorrhea is treated, will I be cured?

Antibiotic treatment, if taken exactly as directed, normally cures gonorrhea infections over 97% of the time.1 All sex partners within the last 60 days of people diagnosed with gonorrhea also need to be tested and treated to prevent reinfection.
 
Having a gonorrhea infection does not protect you from another infection in the future. A new exposure to gonorrhea will cause reinfection, even if you were previously treated and cured. Symptoms that occur after treatment are usually caused by reinfection rather than treatment failure.
 
Many people who have gonorrhea also have chlamydia, a similar sexually transmitted disease. When both infections are present, medication treatment includes antibiotics that are effective in treating both chlamydia and gonorrhea.
 
**Some of above information provided via webmd.

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