Learn About this Sexually Transmitted Infection


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Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease, or STD, that is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhaeae (MedlinePlus, 2016) and is sometimes referred to as "the clap" or "drip" (WebMD, 2016). It can affect the cervix, penis, rectum, throat, or eyes (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2012). Gonorrhea is contracted through oral, anal, or vaginal sex with an infected partner. The infection can be passed to the other areas of the body through contact with infected sexual organs either directly or by transferring through hand contact.

How Common is Gonorrhea? Who is at Risk?

Gonorrhea affects over 800,000 people every year in the United States (Planned Parenthood, 2014) but it is suspected that only about half of known infections are reported to the CDC (WebMD, 2016). Anyone who engages in sexual activity can be at risk of gonorrhea. Those most at risk for this disease are those who have multiple partners or have a partner with a history of STDs, do not practice safe sex, or abuse drugs (PubMed, 2012). Gonorrhea is also more common for those between the ages of 15 to 24 (WomensHealth, 2014).

How is Gonorrhea Diagnosed?

Gonorrhea can be diagnosed using a urine test (CDC, 2016). The health care professional may also choose to take a swab from the potential sites of the infection. This sample can be placed on a glass slide with a stain used to determine the presence of gonorrhea and examined under a microscope. While this method is fast it may not provide absolute certainty on a diagnosis. The sample can also be placed in an incubator set to create ideal conditions for gonorrhea to grow if it is present. This method is more reliable but the final result can take up to three days (Kiefer, 2015).

Gonorrhea Facts

Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea
Gonorrhea Signs & Symptoms
Know what the common signs of gonorrhea are
Signs & Symptoms
Long term of effects of gonorrhea
Gonorrhea Long Term Effects
Find out the potential consequences of not getting treatment
Long Term Effects
find out how to treat gonorrhea
How to Treat Gonorrhea

Find out how gonorrhea can be treated and what recovery looks like


As with all sexually transmitted disease, the first precaution is abstinence. If engaging in sexual activity, the following methods can reduce the likelihood of contracting Gonorrhea:

  • Practicing safe sex through the use of condoms and other barriers can reduce the risks of infection. This is an important part because even if no one participating has an orgasm, transfer of a STI can still occur (WomensHealth, 2014)
  • Ensure that all partners, as well as yourself, undergo regular STI screenings and follow up on any treatment needed
  • Properly clean any and all toys used to the proper specifications for that type of toy
  • Restrict the number of partners that you have sexual intimacy with. Maintaining a monogamous relationship is the best way to reduce the risk but if interacting with multiple partners, ensure to use the appropriate barriers and know the STI status and history of those partners
  • Women should avoid douching as that can reduce some of the normal and healthy bacteria in the vagina and lead to an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (WomensHealth, 2014)
  • It is recommended not to abuse drugs or alcohol as this may increase the chance of engaging in risky behavior or leave yourself open to sexual assault. If you choose to use substances ensure you are in safe surroundings and be aware of the R.A.C.K principles.

Written March 1, 2012 | Updated February 11, 2016
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Article References

CDC. (2016, 02 03). Gonorrhea - CDC Fact Sheet. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/stdfact-gonorrhea.htm

Kiefer, D. (2015, 09 26). Gonorrhea. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from Healthline: http://www.healthline.com/health/gonorrhea#Overview1

MedlinePlus. (2016, 02 02). Gonorrhea. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from MedlinePlus: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007267.htm

Planned Parenthood. (2014). Gonorrhea at a Glance. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from Planned Parenthood: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/gonorrhea

WebMD. (2016). Gonorrhea. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from Sexual Conditions Health Center: http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/guide/gonorrhea

WebMD. (2016). Gonorrhea. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from eMedicine Health: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/gonorrhea/article_em.htm

WomensHealth. (2014, 03 25). Gonorrhea. Retrieved 02 11, 2016, from Women's Health: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/gonorrhea.html#

Image References

Someone else's art deserves recognition! The images presented in this article were borrowed from the following places:

Header Image: http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Components/Photo/_new/100407-gonorrhea-hmed-4p.grid-6x2.jpg | Retrieved April 28, 2015

Image 1: http://maxcdn.fooyoh.com/files/attach/images/591/152/736/004/gonorrhea.jpg | Retrieved April 28, 2015

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