What is it?
A bacterial infection of the genitals, anus, or throat.
How common is it?
An estimated 700,000 people in the U.S. get gonorrhea each year. The highest rates are among women aged 15 to 24 and men aged 20 to 24. Learn more at www.cdc.gov.
What are the symptoms?
Most infected people have no symptoms. For those who do, it can cause a burning sensation while urinating, abnormal white, green, and/or yellowish vaginal or penile discharge. Women may also have abnormal vaginal bleeding and/or pelvic pain. Men may also have painful or swollen testicles.
How do you get it?
Through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It can also be passed on from mother to child during childbirth.
How do you treat it?
Oral antibiotics can cure the infection. Both partners must be treated at the same time to prevent passing the infection back and forth. Both partners should abstain from sex until the infection is gone. Persons with gonorrhea should be tested for other STDs.
What are the consequences if left untreated?
Increased risk for infection of other STDs, including HIV. In women, gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can lead to infertility and ectopicpregnancy, which a fetus can’t survive. Men may develop epididymitis, a painful condition, which can lead to infertility. Babies born to infected women can develop eye infections.
Get Yourself Tested
Anyone who has had sex may be at risk for an STD, even when there are no symptoms. Talk to your health care provider about testing.
Can it be prevented?
There is no vaccine for gonorrhea. Abstaining from sex and sexual contact is the surest way to avoid getting an STD. Using condoms every time reduces the risk of contracting STDs. If you or your partner tests positive, you should abstain from sex until the infection is gone.
If you are sexually active, using condoms consistently and correctly, from start to finish, is one of the best ways to help prevent STDs. Condoms are the ONLY method that protects sexually active people from both STDs and pregnancy.