What is it?

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection which can cause infections of the urethra (the tube that runs through your penis), throat, rectum, and eyes.

How do I get it?

Gonorrhoea is passed on by giving or receiving anal sex and oral sex, touching an infected part of the body and then touching other parts of your or someone else’s body, and by using sex toys without washing them or without using a new condom for each person.

What symptoms or signs might I notice?

Symptoms can include a green or yellow discharge from the penis, often accompanied by pain when peeing. You might also notice some pain or swelling in your testicles. Symptoms can be experienced as soon as two days after sex but can also take several weeks. Anal symptoms include pain when opening bowels, anal moisture or discharge may be seen when wiping and you may notice problems actually opening the bowels owing to a feeling of incomplete emptying. It is very unusual to have throat symptoms as gonorrhoea does not usually cause a sore throat.

How will I be tested for Gonorrhoea?

If you have no symptoms, you can be tested from a urine sample, a self-taken rectal swab and a throat swab. This is also tested for Chlamydia at the same time. If you have symptoms a member of clinical staff may need to examine you.

If you have a discharge from your penis it is best not to pass urine for 4 hours before your test. A swab is usually taken in addition to a urine sample. Check with the clinic if you are unsure.

How will I be treated for Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is treated with antibiotics by injection. You should avoid sexual contact for at least one week to ensure the infection has cleared after treatment. The clinic will always recommend that you have a test to ensure the infection has gone.

How can I avoid Gonorrhoea?

Using condoms can reduce the risk of transmission through anal sex; however there is still a small risk of getting Gonorrhoea through oral sex.

What if I’m HIV-positive?

Gonorrhoea causes inflammation even if there are no signs or symptoms; this increases the risk of passing on HIV, particularly if you have detectable HIV.

Where can I get help?

If you think you might have Gonorrhoea, get a check up at Steve Retson Project or Sandyford sexual health services. Click on the Services link for check up options.