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What is Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that is found in the semen and vaginal fluids of men and women. It is commonly known as “the clap”. It is easily passed between people during sexual contact.


Approximately 10% of men and 50% of women will not experience any obvious symptoms. It can take up to 2 weeks from coming into contact with gonorrhoea to see any signs, for some people symptoms might not be present until many months later.

For women, symptoms may involve: unusual vaginal discharge, pain when passing urine and lower abdominal pain.

For men, symptoms may involve: an unusual discharge from the tip of the penis and pain when passing urine.


If you think that you may have gonorrhoea it is important to have a test. The test may involve the doctor or nurse taking a swab sample or urine sample. You can seek a test at a GUM or sexual health clinic or through your GP surgery.


Gonorrhoea is treated with antibiotics. This is usually an antibiotic injection and a single dose of antibiotic tablets.


If left untreated gonorrhoea can lead to more serious long-term health problems such as pelvic pain, blocked fallopian tubes, infertility and ectopic pregnancy for women, and painful infection in the testicles and prostate gland, and possibly reduced fertility in men. It is unlikely that gonorrhoea will go away without treatment.


Protect yourself/partner from gonorrhoea by using condoms when having sex.

For more information see:
NHS Choices


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