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What is Gonorrhea?

  • Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • Anyone who is sexually active can get gonorrhea; it is more common among teens and young adults.
  • Many people who have gonorrhea don’t know it. Especially in women, the disease often has no symptoms.
  • You can pass the disease to others without knowing it.
  • Gonorrhea can cause permanent damage to the pelvic and sex organs.
  • Other names for gonorrhea are GC, clap, the drip, or a dose.
  • The only way to know for sure if you have gonorrhea is to have a test.


How does someone get gonorrhea?

You can get gonorrhea by having sex with someone who has it. “Having sex” means having anal, oral, or vaginal contact.


What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?

You may not know you have it. Most women and men have no symptoms. If they appear, symptoms show up 2 to 21 days after having sex.


If you are a woman you may notice:

  • Yellow or gray discharge from the vagina.
  • Burning or pain when urinating.
  • Urinating more often.
  • Bleeding between periods or after sex.
  • Heavier and more painful periods.
  • Cramps or pain in lower abdomen, sometimes with fever or nausea.


If you are a man you may notice:

  • Yellow or greenish drip from the penis, or stained underwear.
  • Burning or pain when urinating (peeing).
  • Urinating more often.
  • Swollen, tender testicles.


Both men and women may have:

  • A sore or red throat caused by gonorrhea in the throat from oral sex.
  • Rectal pain and blood or pus in bowel movement caused by gonorrhea in the rectum from anal sex.


Protect yourself

  • Not having sex is your best protection against gonorrhea and other STD.
  • Use latex condoms with a water based lubricant every time you have sex.
  • Use plastic (polyurethane) condoms if you’re allergic to latex.
  • Get checked for gonorrhea and other STD regularly.
  • Don’t have sex with a person you think may have an STD.
  • Don’t use drugs or alcohol when you might have sex. If you’re high, you might forget to protect yourself.


How is gonorrhea treated?

  • Gonorrhea can be treated and cured with antibiotics.
  • Finish all the medicine to be sure you are cured.
  • Wait to have sex; ask your provider how long after treatment you must wait.
  • If you still have symptoms after treatment, go back to see your doctor.
  • Tell your sex partner(s). Your partner must be treated, too. Otherwise he or she could give gonorrhea to someone else or back to you.
If you’re sexually active, sign-up for free STD testing reminders via email, text or both at If We All Test, we can help eliminate syphilis and other STDs in our community.