Public Health Fact Sheet

What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a very common sexually transmitted disease that can infect both men and women.  Gonorrhea often has no symptoms but can lead to serious complications such as infertility in both men and women.

How is Gonorrhea spread?
Gonorrhea can be spread during vaginal, anal or oral sex.  It can also be passed from an infected mother to her unborn child during vaginal birth. 

What do I do if I am exposed or notice symptoms?
Contact your doctor for testing and treatment. Once diagnosed, make sure all recent sexual partners have been contacted and encouraged to seek treatment as well.  Remember - many people have no symptoms when infected.

How is Gonorrhea treated?
Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics.  You will need two forms of antibiotics, an oral antibiotic as well as an injectable antibiotic to effectively treat Gonorrhea.  It is becoming harder to treat Gonorrhea because antibiotic-resistant strains of Gonorrhea are becoming more and more common.  Contact your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or resolve once treated.  All sex partners need to be evaluated and treated at the same time to avoid reinfection.  Sexual contact should be avoided until after treatment has been completed.  You should get re-tested three months after treatment to ensure you have not been re-infected.  If Gonorrhea is left untreated, it can result in ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and pelvic inflammatory disease.  It is recommended that if you are sexually active, you get screened annually.        

How can I prevent Gonorrhea?
Abstinence from sexual activity is the best form of protection.  Latex male condoms will offer some protection against Gonorrhea.   Being in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and known to be uninfected is another form of prevention.

Additional information is available on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/default.htm
Symptoms of Gonorrhea

  • Burning with urination
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Painful or swollen testicles

  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Anal itching

  • Rectal soreness & bleeding
  • Painful bowel movements
February 2020