Gonorrhea, also known as “The Clap,” is the second most common sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection. It spreads through vaginal, anal and/or oral sex without using a condom or oral dam. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause serious health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), chronic pain and infertility. Gonorrhea can be passed to an infant in the birth canal during delivery, causing severe complications, such as blindness, joint infection, or blood infection.


Symptoms usually occur within 2-7 days after exposure; however, some people may show no signs or symptoms.

Symptoms can include:

  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Pain, itching, bleeding, and mucous discharge of the rectum
  • Redness, itching, and discharge of the eyes (for gonorrhea in the eyes)
  • Throat infection

People with vaginas may experience the following symptoms:

  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Lower back and abdominal pain
  • Vaginal bleeding after intercourse or between menstrual periods
  • Pain during sex

People with penises may experience the following symptoms:

  • Thick, yellow-green discharge from the penis
  • Painful or swollen testicles
  • Burning or itching at the opening of the penis

Testing for gonorrhea requires a urine test and or swabbing of the affected area. If detected early, antibiotics can treat and cure gonorrhea. See your healthcare provider for STBBI testing.

Prevention is key to protecting yourself and your partner from STBBIs.  Click here for safer sex tips.

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Last updated: 2023-07-25