Gonorrhea is spread through condomless oral, vaginal or anal sex with an infected person. It can also be transmitted to a baby during birth. People infected with gonorrhea are at increased risk of contracting and transmitting HIV.
You can get gonorrhea at different sites in your body. In many cases symptoms never appear so you can have gonorrhea without knowing it. Symptoms can develop between 2-10 days after possible exposure and may include the following:
Results generally take 1 week to return from the lab.
If your partner is diagnosed with gonorrhea, you should also be tested and treated.
Untreated gonorrhea can cause a serious infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes, called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in the fallopian tubes) and/or miscarriage and infertility. Gonorrhea can cause epididymitis, a painful condition of the testicles that can lead to infertility if left untreated.
Without prompt treatment gonorrhoea can also affect the prostate and can lead to scarring inside the urethra. It can also cause an eye infection if the infected discharge touches the eye.
Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics but it is possible to get reinfected. It is very important to follow the instructions given with the medication. First line treatment is an injection and four pills (one dose) of antibiotics.
All sexual partner(s) within the last two months should be informed, tested and treated if their tests are positive, even though they may have no symptoms.
You will be advised to return for a follow-up test after treatment to make sure that the infection has cleared up. Avoid having intercourse (oral, anal or vaginal) after you and your partner(s) have been tested, treated and had follow-up testing. This is usually one week. If your partner(s) are not treated, there is a high risk that you will be re-infected.
Using a condom every time you have oral, vaginal and anal sex will greatly reduce your chances of getting gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections.