What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is the second-most contracted sexually transmitted infection after chlamydia. Gonorrhea spreads through sex (vaginal, oral, or anal) with someone who has the infection.
How do I know if I have Gonorrhea?
The only way to know is to get tested. Testing can give you peace of mind and get you treated right away if necessary. Ask your primary care provider or try the new at-home testing service in Alaska. You can go to www.IWantTheKit.org to request a free testing kit to be mailed to you.
Signs & symptoms of Gonorrhea
Someone with gonorrhea may have:
- discharge from the vagina, penis, or anus
- in men, pain in testicles
- in women, vaginal bleeding between periods
- pain in the lower belly
- pain when peeing
- rectal pain, especially when having a bowel movement (pooping)
Many people with gonorrhea have no symptoms.
How can I get it?
People can get gonorrhea, even multiple times, if their partners aren’t treated with antibiotics OR if they get treated but then have sex with someone else who has gonorrhea. Sometimes there are no symptoms, so gonorrhea can be spread from person to person without knowing it.
Gonorrhea can be passed from person to person through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Ejaculation does not have to happen for the infection to be passed from one person to another. Gonorrhea infections can occur in the mouth, throat, eyes, anus, cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes. It can be passed from mother to baby during childbirth.
How can I get treated?
Gonorrhea infections can be easily cured with antibiotics. You need to see your health care provider or use the at-home test IWTK to be prescribed the correct antibiotics.
All sexual partners from the past two months need treatment too, even if they do not have signs of gonorrhea.
You should not have sex again until:
- at least 7 days after you and your sexual partner(s) take the antibiotics
- you and your sexual partner(s) do not have signs of gonorrhea.
What happens if I don’t get treated?
- in girls: pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can damage the reproductive system, making it hard or impossible for a woman to get pregnant later on
- in guys: swelling in the testicles and tubes at the back of the testicles, possibly preventing a man from fathering kids later on
- problems peeing due to scars in the urethra
- infection of the blood that can lead to joint problems and other problems
How can you prevent Gonorrhea?
The only way to 100% prevent gonorrhea or other STDs is to not have sex ( oral, vaginal, or anal). If you have sex, using a latex condom every time can prevent most STDs. For free condoms go to iknowmine.org and have condoms mailed to you.
If you are sexually active, get tested every year or more. This way you can get treated right away. See your provider to get tested or use at-home testing by going to www.IWantTheKit.org