What is gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is an infection you can get by having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhoea.

How do I get gonorrhoea?

If you have anal, oral or vagina sex with a person who has gonorrhoea, they can pass it on to you.

You can get gonorrhoea from someone even if they don’t have any symptoms.

Babies can get gonorrhea from their mum’s while they are growing in their mum’s womb. When this happens, babies can be born with serious eyes infections and may become blind.

You can’t get gonorrhoea from public toilets, public swimming pools or by hugging someone or shaking hands.

What does gonorrhoea do to the body?

Gonorrhoea can infect the throat, anus, urethra (urine passage), cervix (inside the vagina) and eyes.

If you don’t see a doctor or health clinic to get treated for gonorrhoea it can cause infections of your skin and joints.
Gonorrhoea can also cause meningitis, which is an infection of the covering of the brain.

In women, gonorrhoea can cause a serious infection that can stop them from having a baby.

Pregnant women can pass gonorrhoea to their babies during childbirth, and the baby can be born with serious eye infections and become blind.

How do I know if I have gonorrhoea?

Many people don’t know they have gonorrhoea because they don’t have any signs or symptoms.
The only way to know if you have gonorrhoea is to have a test. The test is quick and easy. You just have to give a sample of your pee to be tested.
Or you can have a swab taken from the infected area and tested for gonorrhoea.
Signs and symptoms of gonorrhoea

For men
• stinging or burning feeling when peeing
• a discharge from the penis, usually white or yellow in colour
• testicles feeling swollen and painful
• redness around the opening of the penis
• anal discharge or discomfort
• eye infections

For women
• unusual vaginal discharge
• vaginal bleeding
• pain when peeing
• pelvic pain, especially during sex
• anal discharge or discomfort
• eye infections

What do I do if I have gonorrhoea?

• Your doctor will give you medicine.
• Tell your partner or partners to get a test. If they have gonorrhoea, they can give gonorrhoea to you again or give gonorrhoea to others.
• Your doctor can help you decide who to tell that you have got gonorrhoea. Your doctor can help you tell them.
• Do not have sex with anyone, even using a condom, until your treatment for gonorrhoea is finished.

Can gonorrhoea be treated or cured?

Gonorrhoea is easy to treat and cure, it just takes a single injection of antibiotics.

Always tell your doctor if you have been overseas. This is because some types of gonorrhoea are not common in Australia and need special medicine.

Just because you’ve been cured of gonorrhea once, doesn’t mean you can’t catch it again.

How can I protect myself from getting gonorrhoea?

• Get yourself and your partner tested. The more people you have sex with the higher the risk you may catch gonorrhoea; so if you’re having sex with more than one partner get tested more often.
• Ask your partner or anyone you’re having sex with to get tested and treated too to make sure you don’t keep giving the infection to each other and other people.
• Use condoms when you have vaginal, anal or oral sex. Use condoms even with your long-term partner if you’re having sex with other people too.
• Talk to new partners about using condoms before you have sex with them.

How can I make sure I don’t give gonorrhoea to someone else?

• Don’t have sex while you are being treated because you can still pass on the infection during this time, even when using condom
• Use condoms every time you have sex especially with a new partner.
• Get tested for gonorrhoea more often if you are having sex with more than one person.

Where can I get help and advice?

You can get help from:
• a doctor
• a sexual health clinic
• community health service
• family planning centres
• Aboriginal Medical or Torres Strait Islander Service

More information