Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that affects over 700,000 new individuals each year. The current number of cases is unknown.

What are the symptoms?

It is common for individuals infected to not have any symptoms. Females may experience vaginal discharge and/or have pelvic or abdominal pain. Males usually experience pain while urinating, and they may have a discharge from the penis.

Can having gonorrhea lead to other problems?

Gonorrhea can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in females. PID involves a severe infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries which may lead to infertility, tubal pregnancies, and chronic pelvic pain. It is also easier to transmit or get infected with HIV if you are infected with gonorrhea.

How is gonorrhea transmitted?

Gonorrhea is transmitted by contact with infected secretions during sexual activity which includes vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse.

How is it diagnosed?

Gonorrhea may be diagnosed by your healthcare provider using a lab test to assess the secretions from the infected area which may include the cervix, urethra, anus, or throat. The lab may also test your urine.

What is the treatment?

Gonorrhea may be treated and cured with antibiotics administered orally or through an injection.

Can gonorrhea be prevented?

There are only two 100% effective ways to prevent Gonorrhea. The first is to refrain from sexual contact of any kind. The second is to be in a long-term monogamous relationship such as marriage.

The use of condoms does reduce the risk of transmission of Gonorrhea, but it does not prevent it. According to a study presented at the 2002 National STD Prevention Conference, there is a 50% risk reduction by using condoms.

Last Updated: 08/2015

Compiled using information from the following sources:

1 Summary findings of NIH report, “Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention,” in Sex, Condoms, and STDs: What We Now Know published by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women. Faro, Sebastian, Ch. 1.