Gonorrhoea

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WHAT IS GONORRHOEA?

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Infection can occur in the urethra, cervix, anus, throat and eyes. Rarely Neisseria gonorrhoeae can spread to the bloodstream causing fever, joint pain and skin lesions.

HOW IS IT SPREAD?

Gonorrhoea is spread by vaginal, anal or oral sex without condoms.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS?

Men with infection in the penis usually have symptoms, while infection in the anus and throat is usually asymptomatic. When present, symptoms include:

  • A yellow or white penile discharge 
  • Pain or discomfort passing urine
  • Redness around the opening of the penis
  • Anal discharge and discomfort

Most women do not have any signs or symptoms. When symptoms occur they include:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding
  • Discomfort passing urine
  • Pelvic pain, especially during intercourse
  • Anal discharge and discomfort 

If left untreated, gonorrhoea can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), a condition that may lead to complications, including infertility.

HOW LONG UNTIL SYMPTOMS DEVELOP?

Most men develop symptoms within 1-3 days. If women develop symptoms, it can be a little longer.

HOW DO YOU TEST FOR GONORRHOEA?

Gonorrhoea is tested for on a urine sample, or a swab from the urethra, cervix, throat and anus. The tests can usually detect gonorrhoea within 2–4 days of coming into contact with the infection.

HOW IS GONORRHOEA TREATED?

Gonorrhoea is currently treated with the antibiotics; ceftriaxone and azithromycin.

HOW LONG DO SYMPTOMS TAKE TO GO AWAY AFTER TREATMENT?

Symptoms usually ease within 24 hours. If symptoms remain after a week, return to your doctor.

WHEN IS IT SAFE TO HAVE SEX AGAIN?
  • You should not have any sex for one week after completing treatment (not even sex with a condom).
  • You must not have sex with any partners until one week after they are also treated.
DO I LET MY PARTNERS KNOW?
  • Yes, you need to let all of your sexual partners in the last 3 months know that they have been a contact of gonorrhoea and need to get tested
HOW CAN I LET MY PARTNERS KNOW?
  • Most people find this is best done directly, either in person or via phone call or text message. If you don’t feel comfortable contacting partners personally, there are two websites enabling you to send a free and anonymous text message or email: 
  • Let Them know www.letthemknow.org.au , this website is available for anyone to use.
  • Drama Down Under www.thedramadownunder.info/notify , this website is specifically for gay men, or men with male sexual partners and allows you to contact several people in one go.
HOW DO I AVOID RE-INFECTION?

By notifying your partners, ensuring that current partners are treated and consistent condom use with all future partners.

DISCLAIMER:
This fact sheet is designed to provide you with information on gonorrhoea. It is not intended to replace the need for a consultation with your doctor. All clients are strongly advised to check with their doctor about any specific questions or concerns they may have. Every effort has been taken to ensure that the information in this pamphlet is correct at the time of printing.
Last Updated November 2017