What is gonorrhoea?

It is a bacterial infection ,which is sexually transmitted, and can infect the cervix, urethra, rectum, anus and throat.

What are the symptoms?

It is possible to be infected and have no symptoms. Men are far more likely to notice symptoms than women. Likely symptoms are painful peeing and discharge from the penis or vagina. The discharge may be yellow or greenish colour. There may be irritation / discharge from the anus.

How common is gonorrhoea?

The number of people with gonorrhoea has increased in recent years and is easy to pass on via unprotected sex, including unprotected oral sex.

How is Gonorrhoea diagnosed?

Swabs may be taken from any site which may be infected – the urethra, cervix, anus or throat. The swabs are looked at under the microscope to check for infection on the day of attending clinic, and the results available immediately – then sent to the laboratory for further testing – the result of which is available in a week to ten days.

How is gonorrhoea treated?
It can be treated with antibiotics.

What if it’s left untreated?

If left untreated, gonorrhoea can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can lead to an ectopic pregnancy and difficulty in conceiving in women. In men it can cause inflammation of the testicles causing pain.

Treating sexual partners.

It is essential that the sexual partner(s) is /are treated. You can discuss this with the Health Adviser who can help to encourage your sexual partner(s) to get a check-up and treatment.


Once you have finished your course of antibiotics it is important to attend for a further check-up. Some types of gonorrhoea are resistant to certain antibiotics, especially if you acquired the infection abroad. It is advisable that you avoid sex until you have returned to the clinic, and been given the ‘all clear’ by the doctor. Once gonorrhoea has been successfully treated , it will not come back, unless you become re-infected.

Please remember that using a condom offers good protection against all sexually transmitted infections, including the HIV virus. Condoms are supplied free from the Family Planning Clinic and the Genito-Urinary Clinic.

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