Peer Health

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is one of the most prevalent diseases in the U.S. Gonorrhea is an infection caused by bacteria,which can be cured with antibiotics. The only means by which Gonorrhea can be spread is through vaginal, anal, or oral-genital contact with an infected person. It is impossible to catch Gonorrhea from toilet seats, towels, drinking cups, etc. that have been used by an infected person. If Gonorrhea is left untreated, women may develop Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). If the disease is left untreated in men, the bacteria may spread to the urethra causing scarring and sterility. Most women and an increasing number of men exhibit no symptoms at all. If symptoms do appear, they will be two days to two weeks after you come into contact with the bacteria.

Gonorrhea is diagnosed by taking a culture of the cervix in women or the discharge from the penis in men. If oral and/or anal sexual contact has been made with an infected individual, a culture of these areas will be taken as well. Treatment is a full-course of antibiotics. It is important to have follow-up cultures taken seven to fourteen days later to make sure you have been cured. You should avoid intercourse until two negative cultures have been taken in a row. If you do have intercourse before two negative cultures have been taken, use condoms. Avoid oral-genital contact until the treatment is complete.