Gonorrhoea is a curable sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused a the bacteria (a type of germ) called Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
It is the second most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the UK.
Gonorrhoea is a highly contagious infection that can affect various parts of the body including penis, vagina, anus (arse) and throat.
Gonorrhoea can be easily passed from one person to another during unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex.
It can also be spread by sex toys if, they are not washed or covered by a new condom each time they are used.
It is recommended to use condoms or femidoms when having anal or vaginal sex and condoms or dams for oral sex, and rimming.
Some people who are infected with gonorrhoea will not notice anything wrong, but the following symptoms may be noticed:
Testing for gonorrhoea is done by taking a urine sample and swabs from the throat, genitals and anus (arse).
You can get tested for gonorrhoea (and other STIs) 7 days a week with our sexual health services at Birmingham LGBT.
Call us on 0121 643 0821
All of our services are free and confidential
Gonorrhoea is treated with antibiotics – this could be a combination of an injection and some tablets.
If you are treated for gonorrhoea we strongly suggest that your sexual partner(s) also gets tested and treated before you have sex again.
We are here to support you, not to judge you.
In April 2016 Public Health England (PHE) issued a statement about a highly drug-resistant type of gonorrhoea with the warning that it may become untreatable.
A powerful strain of the STI, first seen in the north of England, had since been found in the West Midlands and the southeast.
The strain is highly resistant to the antibiotic azithromycin, which means clinicians are relying on a second drug, ceftriaxone, to treat it. But there are no other effective drugs to tackle the strain, raising the prospect of it becoming untreatable if it builds further resistance.
PHE urged people to use condoms with new or casual partners to cut the risk of catching the disease. If untreated, gonorrhoea can result in severe complications and in rare cases can lead to infertility or septicaemia.
Dr Gwenda Hughes, the head of PHE’s STI section, said: “Fortunately, the current outbreak strain can still be treated with ceftriaxone. Nonetheless, we know that the bacterium that causes gonorrhoea can rapidly develop resistance to other antibiotics that are used for treatment, so we cannot afford to be complacent.
If strains of gonorrhoea emerge that are resistant to both azithromycin and ceftriaxone treatment options would be limited as there is currently no new antibiotic available to treat the infection.”
Between November 2014 and 17 April 2016 there had been 34 confirmed cases of super gonorrhoea. Since September 2015, 11 cases had been confirmed in the West Midlands and in the south of England, 5 of them in London.
At least 16 cases were first detected in northern England, including 12 in Leeds, where the mutated strand was first recorded, PHE said in September 2015.