You may have heard gonorrhoea referred to as “the clap”. It is caused by bacteria called neisseria gonorrhoea or gonococcus. The bacteria are mainly found in the semen and vaginal fluids of men and women who have the infection. Gonorrhoea can be easily passed from one person to another through sexual contact. You can become infected if you come into contact with infected semen or infected discharge from the vagina, throat or rectum. Gonorrhoea can also be passed from pregnant women to her baby. The treatment for gonorrhoea is antibiotics.

How is Gonorrhoea passed on ?

Gonorrhoea is most commonly spread through:

  • Unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
  • Sharing sex toys if you don’t wash them or cover them with a new condom each time they’re used.
  • It is not clear if gonorrhoea can be spread by transferring the bacteria to another person’s genitals on the fingers or through rubbing vulvas (female genitals) together

What are the signs and symptoms?

About 10% of infected men and 50% of infected women will not have any symptoms. Signs and symptoms can show up to 1-14 days after coming into contact with gonorrhoea, it could also be many months later, or not until the infection spreads to other parts of the body.


  • An unusual vaginal discharge which may be thin watery, yellow or green
  • Pain passing urine
  • Lower abdominal pain or tenderness
  • Rarely, bleeding between periods or heavier periods


  • An unusual discharge from tip of the penis-the discharge may be white, yellow or green
  • Pain passing urine
  • Rarely, pain or tenderness in the testicles
  • Inflammation of the foreskin

Men and women

  • Infection in the rectum. This does not usually have any signs or symptoms but may cause anal pain ,discomfort or discharge
  • Infection in the throat. This usually has no symptoms
  • Infection in the eyes. This can cause pain swelling, irritation and discharge

How will I know if I have the infection?

You can only be certain you have gonorrhoea if you do a test. Testing is easy you can have a swab taken or a simple urine test.

What is the treatment for gonorrhoea?

The treatment for gonorrhoea is usually a single dose of antibiotic treatment.