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What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection that is the second most commonly reported communicable disease in the U.S., after chlamydia. Gonorrhea can infect both men and women. It can cause infections in the eyes, throat, genitals, and rectum, and be spread to the pelvis, skin, joints, liver, and rarely, the heart and brain. You can get gonorrhea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea.

Get the Treatment You Need

When taken properly, certain medications will stop the infection, but will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. The CDC now recommends combination antibiotic therapy with ceftriaxone, 250 mg as a single intramuscular dose, plus an oral medication. You should be tested again about three months after you are treated, even if your sex partner(s) was treated.

Oral Antibiotics
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  • Azithromycin
Intramuscular Injection
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  • Ceftriaxone
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Learn About Gonorrhea

Most women who have a gonococcal infection have no symptoms or signs, but are still at risk of developing serious complications. When women do have symptoms and signs, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection.

Symptoms & Risk Factors
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Women with symptoms may notice:

  • Painful or burning sensation when urinating
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods

Men with symptoms may notice:

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • White, yellow, or green discharge from the penis
  • Painful or swollen testicles (although less common)

Both men and women may notice:

  • Discharge
  • Anal itching
  • Soreness
  • Bleeding
  • Painful bowel movements


Factors that increase your risk of gonorrhea include:

  • a new sex partner
  • more than one sex partner
  • being sexually active before age 25
  • a sex partner with concurrent partners
  • a sex partner who has an STI
  • inconsistent condom use among persons who are not in mutually monogamous relationships
  • previous or coexisting STIs
Prevention Tips
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  • Use condoms correctly every time you have sex
  • Limit the number of sex partners, and do not go back and forth between partners
  • Limit sexual contact to one uninfected partner
  • If you think you are infected, avoid sexual contact and see a doctor

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