Gonorrhea: Fast Facts About STDs


Fast Facts About STDs: Gonorrhea

Name of Disease or Infection
Gonorrhea, also known as the Drip or the Clap.

Type of Disease or Infection
Bacterial, caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

How Common Is It?
Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes over 700,000 new cases of gonorrhea each year in the United States.

How Do I Get It?
Gonorrhea is transmitted through contact with the vagina, mouth, penis or anus of an infected person. Ejaculation does not have to occur for gonorrhea to spread.

Symptoms in men include pain when urinating, and a green, white or yellow discharge from the penis. Some men experience painful or swollen testicles. Most infected women will notice no symptoms; among those that do, the most common are burning when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, and /or bleeding between periods. Symptoms of anal infections are the same for women and men: discharge, anal itching and/or bleeding, soreness, and painful bowel movements.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have It?
See your clinician or physician immediately for a laboratory culture test of the discharge.

How Do I Get Rid of It?
Your physician may give you a one-time injection or oral antibiotics to treat this infection.

What Happens If I Don't Treat It?
Untreated gonorrhea will eventually cause damage to the urogenital system of both men and women, frequently leading to infertility. It can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, and epididymitis (infection of the epididymis) in men. Although most common in the genital system, gonorrhea can also infect and cause damage to the eyes, throat and rectum. Untreated people are also at risk for a syndrome known as disseminated gonococcal infection, a form of blood poisoning that can lead to arthritis, skin problems and heart and brain infections. Babies born to infected mothers are at risk of developing blindness due to infection of the eyes during birth (hence the requirement in most states that infants' eyes are treated with antibiotics after birth).

Who Should I Tell?
If you have gonorrhea, you should tell any current or recent sexual partners. Once the disease has been successfully treated, you do not need to tell future partners.