How can you catch gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea transmission

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection that is passed on during sexual contact. It is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae and was previously referred to as “the clap.” The symptoms are more prominent in men than women so it’s not always possible to tell if you have it.


How do you catch gonorrhoea?

You can catch gonorrhoea by having unprotected sex with a partner who is infected. This includes oral, anal and vaginal sex as the bacteria is passed on by sharing genital fluids. The infection can also be passed on by sharing sex toys that haven’t been cleaned between uses or used without a condom. It cannot be passed on through kissing, hugging or sharing public spaces.

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Can you be born with gonorrhoea?

Pregnant women with gonorrhoea can pass on the infection to their unborn baby. If it’s left untreated then it can lead to permanent blindness in a newborn baby. If you are pregnant and have never been tested for gonorrhoea then it’s advisable to have a check-up so you can be treated for it to avoid passing it on to your baby.


How do you know if you have gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea causes symptoms that include a yellow or green discharge from the penis or vagina, pain during urination and unexplained bleeding between periods in women. 50% of women and 10% of men do not experience any symptoms so the only way to know for sure if you have gonorrhoea is to get tested.

If you have had unprotected sex without knowing the sexual health of your partner then you may be at risk of having come into contact with the infection. Having a check-up will put your mind at ease and allow you to get treatment if needed.


How is gonorrhoea tested?

Gonorrhoea is tested by a simple swab test to take a sample of the discharge from either the penis or vagina. A urine test may also be given to men. You can get tested at sexual health and GUM clinics or order a self test kit from Dr Felix which gives you added discretion and convenience. It’s important to get a check-up as soon as possible. Gonorrhoea is not harmful in the short term but if it’s left untreated it can lead to pelvic inflammatory infection and an increased risk of infertility.



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