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    DSHS HIV/STD Program

    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, Texas 78714

    Phone: (512) 533-3000

    DSHS strives to respond to all email requests in a timely manner. It is important to note, however, that messages that you send to us by email may not be secure and may be intercepted by a third party. Therefore, we recommend that you do not send any confidential health information to us by email.

Gonorrhea

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Gonorrhea

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea (“the clap”) is an STD (sexually transmitted disease) that affects millions of people every year. It is spread by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the disease. The disease can affect the sex organs as well as the mouth, throat and eyes.

Babies can get gonorrhea at birth if the mother has it. This can happen even if the mother doesn’t have symptoms.

FacesMany people do not know they have Gonorrhea.

Some people don’t have symptoms, but they can still pass the disease to others. Often, people who have gonorrhea don’t know they have it until they have severe health problems.

Gonorrhea can be dangerous.

Getting tested and treated early is the key to avoiding major health problems later. Today, gonorrhea can still be cured. However, the medicines used to treat gonorrhea are becoming less effective.

In women, gonorrhea can cause:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), a painful infection of the sex organs
  • Infertility (not able to get pregnant)
  • Arthritis (painful swelling in the joints)
  • Heart problems

In men, gonorrhea can cause:

  • Painful swelling in the testicles (balls)
  • Sterility (not being able to get a woman pregnant)
  • Arthritis (painful swelling in the joints)
  • Heart problems

Babies born to mothers with gonorrhea can get an eye infection that causes blindness. All babies born in hospitals get special drops in their eyes to prevent this.

How would you know if you have Gonorrhea?

Many women and men with gonorrhea have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may include:

Men

  • discharge (drip, pus) from the penis or anus
  • burning or pain when urinating (peeing)
  • frequent urination
  • anal/rectal pain and itching
  • sore throat

Women

  • discharge (drip, pus) from the vagina or anus
  • bleeding between periods
  • burning or pain when urinating (peeing)
  • pain in the lower belly, lower back pain
  • anal/rectal pain and itching
  • sore throat

The only way to be sure is to get tested at your doctor's office or an STD clinic. The test is usually easy - a sample of fluid from your penis or vagina will be taken and sent to a lab. Some doctors and clinics now test for gonorrhea and chlamydia by taking a urine sample. Urine testing is both simple and painless. Ask your health care provider if you can get this test.

Even if these symptoms go away on their own, you should get checked at a doctor’s office or an STD clinic. The symptoms can come back and be much worse.

Gonorrhea can be cured!

Gonorrhea can be cured by taking medicine prescribed by a doctor. You have to take two medicines at one time to completely treat the infection. Your sex partner(s) must be treated or you could get infected again.

If you have gonorrhea or any other STD:

  • Take all the medicine given to you
  • Follow your health care provider's directions
  • Call your health care provider if you don't feel better in three days
  • Tell your sex partner(s) to get tested, or ask your health care provider to tell them
  • Don't have sex until seven days after you and your partner take all the medicine
  • Don't share your medicine

Get tested for gonorrhea if:

  • You or your sex partner(s) have symptoms of gonorrhea
  • You have had more than one sex partner, male or female (more partners equals greater risk)
  • You have had sex without a condom
  • You have another STD
  • Your partner tells you that they are being tested or treated for an STD

When you get tested for gonorrhea, you should also get tested for chlamydia, HIV and syphilis.

How can you stay healthy?

  • The only sure way to avoid gonorrhea and other STDs is to not have sex. Vaginal, oral, and anal sex can all pass the disease from one person to another.
  • If you do have sex, use a latex condom every time. When used the right way, condoms greatly reduce the chance you will get gonorrhea and other STDs. Be sure to put the condom on before the penis touches the vagina, mouth or anus.
  • If you have sex, stay with one partner who only has sex with you. Use condoms unless tests show that your partner does not have gonorrhea or other STDs.
 
Gonorrhea Resources

Gonorrhea Resources

Where to get tested for Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea information from the CDC [CDC]

Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT)
EPT is the practice of giving medication to sex partners of persons with an STD without medical evaluation or prevention counseling. It is assumed they have the infection.

2010 STD Treatment Guidelines from the CDC [CDC]
Includes treatment recommendations for Gonorrhea.

Texas HIV/STD Surveillance Report (PDF : 1,850 kb)
This report includes Gonorrhea infection rates and demographic data for Texas.

     
Gonorrhea Materials
6-47 cover
What you should know about Gonorrhea

(PDF : 248 kb)
(DSHS Brochure 6-47)
6-47a cover
Lo que debería saber acerca de la Gonorrea

(PDF : 446 kb)
(DSHS Brochure 6-47a)
What you should know about Gonorrhea Fact Sheet
What you should know about Gonorrhea

(PDF : 39 kb)
(DSHS Fact Sheet E13-11891)
Lo Que Debe Saber Sobre La Gonorrea Fact Sheet
Lo que debería saber acerca de la Gonorrea

(PDF : 41 kb)
(DSHS Fact Sheet E13-11891a)
 

EPT
Expedited Partner Therapy
(PDF : 112 kb)
(DSHS Brochure 13-13176)

     
Last updated September 10, 2014