What is it?

Gonorrhoea is a highly contagious infection which can be spread by vaginal, oral, or anal contact. If you have Gonorrhoea there is an increased risk of getting other STIs, including HIV. Gonorrhoea is one of the fastest growing STIs in the UK and usually causes no symptoms at first. It can be a major cause of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and infertility in women. In men, it can cause inflammation of the testicles and prostate.

How can I get it?

Any sexual activity with an infected person means that you are at risk of contracting this STI. It can live in the genital tract, throat and rectum of both men and women.  As well as the testes, penis and semen of males and the vagina of females.

How do I know if I have it?

Although symptoms are typically mild or non-existent, when there are symptoms they will usually start between 5 and 30 days after contact.  Symptoms will differ slightly between men and women and may include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating 
  • Painful bowel movement
  • Sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis
  • For women: yellowish discharge from the vagina and/ or vaginal bleeding
  • For men: painful or swollen testicles and/ or white, yellow or green unusual discharge from the penis
Did you know …

There were over 25,000 new cases of Gonorrhoea in the UK last year? Was your last partner one of them?

Gonorrhoea testing

Testing with Better2Know is fast, easy and painless. To test for Gonorrhoea, our clinics will usually ask you to provide a urine sample.  If you require a swab of the throat or rectum we can arrange this for you too, please let our booking team know. If you choose our standard test your results will be available 2 days from when the sample is received in the laboratory.  With our FAST test you will get your results on the same day your sample is received in the laboratory.  At some clinics you can choose our instant Gonorrhoea test and have your results in around 20 minutes. You can be tested at any Better2Know clinic in the UK. 

You can also get a Home Sample Collection Kit - visit our Home STD Testing page for more details.


Gonorrhoea infection is curable and can be treated with a course of antibiotics if detected. You can receive a prescription following your Better2Know test. 

Other consequences of infection

Gonorrhoea is a highly preventable cause of infertility. Most infected women have no symptoms until their fertility is affected. If left untreated it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID can lead to infertility and potentially fatal ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

Pregnant women with the infection can have higher rates of miscarriage, infection of the amniotic sac and fluid, preterm birth, and Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM). Mothers can transmit the bacteria to their unborn child during pregnancy or labour. Newborn infants can develop an infection most commonly in the eyes and may eventually go blind if left untreated.

Men with an untreated infection are more likely to develop prostate cancer.

It is important to get tested.