Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a bacterial STI which is curable with antibiotics. When it’s left untreated, gonorrhea can result in reproductive problems. You may hear it called “the clap” or “the dose.”

How is gonorrhea spread?

  • Gonorrhea is spread through sexual fluids during unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner
  • It can be spread just through contact with the penis, vagina, mouth or anus. Ejaculation is not necessary.
  • Can be spread from an infected mother to baby during delivery
  • After getting gonorrhea once, you do not become “immune” to it. You can be re-infected anytime if you’re exposed to the bacteria again.
  • There has been an increase in the rates of gonorrhea in BC over the past few years, because of this everyone who is sexually active should be tested regularly.

How can you prevent gonorrhea?

To reduce your risk of gonorrhea:

  • Use condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
  • Use condoms and oral dams during oral sex.
  • Get tested for gonorrhea regularly (It’s free and confidential)
  • Talk about past sexual partners with your current partner(s).

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?

Many people have no symptoms with a gonorrhea infection, but any symptoms usually appear within 30 days of infection.

  • Gonorrhea can infect the cervix, penis, rectum or throat.
  • Throat infections may cause a sore throat but usually don’t.
  • Rectal infections may cause discharge, itching, soreness, bleeding, painful bowel movements, or be symptomless.
  • Gonorrhea may cause burning when urinating, different vaginal discharge, discharge from the penis, bleeding between periods or after intercourse, or painful or swollen testicles.

What are the risks of untreated gonorrhea?

  • In females, gonorrhea can result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy, or chronic pelvic pain.
  • In males, gonorrhea can cause an infection of the tube that carries sperm from the testicles (epididymitis) which can lead to infertility.

How does a person get tested for gonorrhea?

  • Lab tests can be done with a urine sample or by taking a swab from the infected site such as the cervix, urethra, rectum, or throat.
  • Testing is private and free with a carecard.

How is gonorrhea treated?

  • Gonorrhea is easily treated and cured with antibiotics (as long as you finish all the medication).
  • All recent sex partners (within previous 60 days ) need to be treated.
  • You need to abstain from having sex until 1 week after you and your partner have completed the entire course of antibiotics—if not, you can easily become re-infected.

Where can I get tested for gonorrhea?

  • Island Sexual Health clinics in Greater Victoria
  • Your local sexual health clinics
  • Your local youth clinic
  • Walk in clinics
  • Family Doctors