Gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae)

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. You can catch it by having unprotected sex with someone who is infected. If left untreated, it may lead to serious and permanent health problems in both women and men. These include pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb), chronic pelvic pain, inflammation of the testicles and Reiter syndrome.

Image Content Provider: CDC/ Dr. Stephen Kraus


People who are infected with gonorrhoea may not show any symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they usually do so two to seven days after exposure. Both men and women may have a burning sensation when urinating (peeing). Also, men may have itching around the opening of the penis, abnormal discharge from the penis, and painful or swollen testicles. Women may have lower abdominal pain, painful sex, increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Neonates may get conjunctivitis or sepsis.


Anyone who is sexually active can be infected with Gonorrhea. It can be spread through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex with an infected person. It can be spread to straight and same-sex partners. It can also be spread from a mother to her baby during childbirth.


Gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics. However, drug-resistant strains of Gonorrhea are increasing. So the disease is becoming more difficult to treat.

Treatment will stop the infection. But it will not heal any permanent injury done by the disease


Gonorrhea can be prevented by always avoiding risky behaviours. Thus, avoid having multiple sexual partners and unprotected sex.

People should not have sex until both partners are tested and treated. This is to prevent the spread of infection to others.

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