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Gonorrhoea (‘the clap’) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) passed between people through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex or through sharing sex toys. It is the second most commonly diagnosed STI in the world.



  • Vaginal discharge that may be thick, green or yellow
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain in lower abdomen
  • Bleeding between periods


  • White, yellow or green discharge from tip of penis
  • Pain when urinating
  • Swelling of the foreskin
  • Tender or painful testicles


Gonorrhoea is caused by bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. The disease is spread if you come into contact with infected discharge from the vagina, throat or rectum or from infected semen, usually as a result of unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex. The disease can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby. Sometimes gonorrhoea bacteria infects the eye causing conjunctivitis.

How is Gonorrhoea treated?

If you think you have symptoms or gonorrhoea you should get tested - the test is usually done through a swab (like a cotton bud) of the infected area. Tests can be done at a sexual health clinic, some doctors’ surgeries, or via a home testing kit.

Gonorrhoea is treated with prescribed antibiotics (usually ceftriaxone, cefixime or spectinomycin), given as a single dose via an injection or pill. Sex should be avoided until the treatment is complete. Further treatment may be needed if symptoms return.

Untreated gonorrhoea can cause infertility and spread to other parts of the body.

Super Gonorrhoea

In recent years there have been a number of cases of people contracting antibiotic resistant Gonorrhoea - called super Gonorrhoea.

Antibiotic resistance can occur when antibiotics are overused or used improperly. Antibiotics should only be used when absolutely necessary, and a full course of antibiotics should be completed if they are prescribed.

Alternative Therapies/Self-Help

There is no evidence that complementary therapies can cure gonorrhoea.