• DSHS HIV/STD Program
    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, TX 78714

    Phone: 737-255-4300

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NGU Fact Sheet

OTHER NAMES Non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU), non-specific urethritis (NSU)
ORGANISM Among the several organisms that cause NGU, the most common and most serious is the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis (the same bacteria that causes chlamydia).
TRANSMISSION Passed during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Infection to infants during vaginal delivery is possible.
INCUBATION Poorly defined, probably 7-14 days or longer.
TYPICAL SYMPTOMS In males a discharge from the penis, burning when urinating, or burning or itching around the opening of the penis. These symptoms frequently appear in the morning. Some men will have no symptoms, or symptoms so mild they go unnoticed. Females often have no symptoms--especially in early stages. In females, painful urination and/or unusual vaginal discharge can be caused by organisms unrelated to NGU.
DIAGNOSIS Quick, reliable, and affordable tests are available to determine NGU. These tests are available in many clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals. Since gonorrhea or chlamydia can cause urethritis, they must be ruled out before a diagnosis of NGU.
TREATMENT NGU is treated and curable with antibiotics.

Don't have sex (abstinence) - Vaginal, oral, and anal sex can pass the infection from one person to another.

Monogamy - If you do have sex, stay with one unifected partner who you are sure only has sex with you and has no other risks. Use condoms unless tests show that your partner does not have STDs.

Take Precautions - If you do not choose abstinence or monogomy, then limit the number of sex partners and use a latex condom during the entire sex act (vaginal, anal, and oral) every time. When used the right way, condoms can help you from getting NGU. Be sure to put the condom on before the penis touches the vagina, mouth, or anus.

Avoid Drug Use - Mind-altering drugs, including alcohol, reduce our ability to reason, which can lead to risky behavior and risky sex.

Education - Health and sex education with special emphasis on abstinence and the use of a latex condom during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Test and Treat Sex Partners - If partner is infected and untreated, reinfection may occur.

DANGER Dangerous if left untreated. Women and babies are most at risk. Often overlooked because of mild symptoms. Left untreated, the organisms that cause NGU-especially chlamydia-can lead to:
  • permanent damage to the reproductive organs of both men and women, resulting in infertility
  • problems in pregnancy, resulting in premature delivery or low birth weight
  • eye, ear, and lung infections in newborns
COMMENTS A man can help his female sex partner by getting tested at once if he has symptoms and making sure she gets tested.

DSHS Electronic Publication Number E13-11906

Last updated March 17, 2015