Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. It used to be known as “the clap”.
The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are mainly found in discharge from the penis and in vaginal fluid.
Gonorrhoea is easily passed between people through:
• unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex
• sharing vibrators or other sex toys that have not been washed or covered with a new condom each time they’re used
Gonorrhoea is not spread by kissing, hugging, swimming pools, toilet seats or sharing baths, towels, cups, plates or cutlery. The bacteria cannot survive outside the human body for long.
Symptoms of gonorrhoea
Typical symptoms of gonorrhoea include a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when peeing and, in women, bleeding between periods. But around 1 in 10 infected men and almost half of infected women do not experience any symptoms.
Gonorrhoea is usually treated with a single antibiotic injection and a single antibiotic tablet. With effective treatment, most of your symptoms should improve within a few days.
It’s usually recommended you attend a follow-up appointment a week or 2 after treatment so another test can be carried out to see if you’re clear of infection.
You should avoid having sex until you have been told you no longer have the infection.
Previous successful treatment for gonorrhoea does not make you immune to catching it again.