Gonorrhoea, which is also sometimes called "the clap", is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is easily spread from person to person through unprotected sexual contact. Gonorrhoea is caused by a type of bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Most people do not show any symptoms of infection with Gonorrhoea and testing is the only way to know if you have been infected. Testing for Gonorrhoea can help you take control of your sexual health. Gonorrhoea can be successfully treated with a course of antibiotics. However, if left undiagnosed and untreated, this infection can lead to very serious health issues including infertility.

How common is Gonorrhoea?

Around the world, Gonorrhoea is one of the fastest-growing STIs, particularly in young adults and people engaging in unprotected sex. The World Health Organisation reports over 80 million new Gonorrhoea cases every year.

How can I catch Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea can easily be spread from one person to another by sexual contact (e.g., anal, oral, and vaginal sex) with an infected person. The bacteria that cause the infection can live in the vagina, mouth, penis, semen, or anus.

Can I catch Gonorrhoea without being sexually active?

Gonorrhoea is commonly caught through unprotected sexual contact with an infected person. It cannot be passed through kissing, hugging, or sharing food and drinks.

What are the signs and symptoms of Gonorrhoea in men?

Many men do not show any symptoms of infection. If there are symptoms, they are usually seen

5–30 days after infection. Gonorrhoea symptoms in males include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating

  • Pain when passing a stool (pooing)

  • Anal leakage

  • Sore throat

  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

  • Painful, itchy, or swollen testicles or penis

  • Unusual white, yellow, or green fluid/discharge coming from the penis

What are the signs and symptoms of Gonorrhoea in women?

Many women do not show any symptoms of infection. If there are symptoms, they are usually seen

5–30 days after infection. Gonorrhoea symptoms in females include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating

  • Lower abdominal pain

  • Itchy or painful vagina

  • Pain when passing a stool (pooing)

  • Sore throat

  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

  • Unusual yellow or green fluid/discharge from the vagina

  • Bleeding between periods or after sex

  • Pain during sex

  • Anal leakage

When should I get tested for Gonorrhoea?

Testing for Gonorrhoea and other STIs can help you to take responsibility of your sexual health and provide you with peace of mind. A test is recommended if you have had any unprotected sexual contact, including oral sex or have multiple sexual partners. You should wait 14 days after having unprotected sex to test for Gonorrhoea. It is recommended that you test for Gonorrhoea if a sexual partner has tested positive or has symptoms. You should always take this test before having sex with a new partner.

How do I get tested for Gonorrhoea?

Take charge of your sexual health with Better2Know tests. Testing with Better2Know is fast, simple, and painless. Gonorrhoea is normally tested for by a urine sample. If you wish to test for Gonorrhoea in your throat or anus a swab of those areas will be needed. You will normally receive your test results 1─7 days after your sample arrives at our laboratory.

What are the risks if Gonorrhoea is left untreated?

If Gonorrhoea is left untreated this can lead to infertility or an increased risk of catching other STIs. In the advanced stages of infection, damage can occur to your reproductive organs, your joints and heart valves.

Most women show no symptoms of infection until they have fertility problems. If the Gonorrhoea infection is not treated, women have an increased risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which causes chronic pelvic pain, infertility, and the risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside of the womb).

If Gonorrhoea is not treated in men they have a higher risk of prostate cancer.

How can Gonorrhoea affect a pregnant person and their baby?

Pregnant women who have a gonorrhoea infection have high rates of miscarriage, pre-term (early) birth, and Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM; early birth due to breaking of the sac holding the baby). Gonorrhoea also increases the risk of infection of the amniotic sac (sac surrounding the baby) and fluid and this can harm the unborn child.

Mothers can infect their unborn child with Gonorrhoea during pregnancy or labour. New-born babies can get an eye infection and if left untreated, they may suffer from impaired eyesight or go blind.

What do I do if I test positive for Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea can be treated and cured with a course of antibiotics. If you receive a positive test result, you should discuss this with a doctor of your choice. If you would like Better2Know to arrange a private doctor’s appointment for you, please phone the number at the top of the page and we will be happy to help.

During your treatment for Gonorrhoea, you can infect others through unprotected sex even after symptoms have disappeared. You should not have sex until the treatment is completed.

It is recommended to have a repeat test at the end of your treatment to check the medication has worked. You should contact previous sexual partners so they can also get tested. Better2Know offers all our patients a free-of-charge Partner Notification tool which will enable you to inform all partners of your positive diagnosis. this can be done completely anonymously, protecting your and their identities.

How is Gonorrhoea treated?

Gonorrhoea treatment involves a single antibiotic injection (normally in the buttocks or the upper thigh) followed by antibiotic tablets. Over the past number of years, certain antibiotic resistant strains of Gonorrhoea have emerged around the world. This is a worrying development and means that all cases of Gonorrhoea need to be carefully managed by a doctor and a test of cure administered after you have finished your antibiotic treatment. If this is the case your doctor will advise you on the right medicine to take for your infection. At Better2Know we are experts in the management of Gonorrhoea and can arrange a private doctor’s appointment to manage your situation.

Can Gonorrhoea come back?

A gonorrhoea infection will not just go away on its own. If you think you may have been at risk of a Gonorrhoea infection, you should schedule a test. If that test comes back positive, then you will need treatment. Having had Gonorrhoea in the past does not make you immune to Gonorrhoea infection in the future. You can catch this infection multiple times. You should repeat the test two weeks after completing treatment to check that the infection has been treated successfully. It is important to check that the medication has worked since some strains of Gonorrhoea are not being successfully treated with some antibiotics. If this is the case your doctor will advise you on the right medicine to take for your infection.

As Gonorrhoea can be caught more than once it is important to reduce your risk of repeat infection. It's also important to let your previous sexual partners know, so they can get tested too. To reduce your risk of a repeat infection you should use condoms every time you have sex, don’t have sex with anyone with symptoms of gonorrhoea, and ask your partners to get tested. If you think you have been reinfected, you should retest for Gonorrhoea.

When can I have sex again after being treated for Gonorrhoea?

You should not have sex until your treatment is finished, even if you have no symptoms. This is to prevent you from infecting your sexual partner(s).

How do I book a Gonorrhoea test?

Better2Know is the world’s leading provider of private sexual health testing services. We provide you with fast and accurate testing to give you peace of mind.

You can book a test today with Better2Know by calling our Sexual Health Advisory team on the number above. Our expert Patient Services staff will help you select the right test and book any follow-up appointments if requested. If you prefer to book your test online, you can do so by clicking the Get Started button above.

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