Gonorrhoea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea. It is colloquially known as “the clap”.
It can infect the vagina (cervix), penis (urethra), and anus. Less commonly it can infect the throat and eyes (conjunctiva). Rarely it can infect the blood stream and cause blood poisoning (septicaemia), joint pain and skin rashes.
It can infect both women and men, but in Australia is most common in men who have sex with men. It can occur within 2 – 14 days after sexual exposure.
It is spread by unprotected sex with an infected individual.
In women, most cases are asymptomatic (without symptoms). If symptoms do occur, it most often causes pain when passing urine, vaginal discharge or pain during sex.
In men, it most often causes pain when passing urine or discharge from the penis. Occasionally it may cause testicular pain.
In men or women who practice anal sex, it may cause anal discharge or pain.
It may uncommonly cause a sore throat.
If left untreated, in women it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and infertility.
It can be tested for by a urine sample or swab.
Gonorrhoea is easily treated with a single dose of an injectable antibiotic, and an oral antibiotic.
It is important to get all of your sexual partners for the past 2 months tested and treated.
You should abstain from sex or use condoms for all types of sexual activity for 1 week after treatment.
You should be re-tested if your symptoms do not resolve, or 3 months after treatment if your symptoms do resolve to make sure that you have not been asymptomatically re-infected.
Even if you have had Gonorrhoea in the past and been treated, you can be re-infected.
To avoid Gonorrhoea, you should practice safe sex with a condom.
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