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What is Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is caused by the bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

How is it transmitted?

You can catch gonorrhoea through oral, vaginal or anal sex with a person who has gonorrhoea.

What are the symptoms?

Men - the symptoms of gonorrhoea depend upon the site of infection. Some men, especially those with anal or throat gonorrhoea, do not have any signs or symptoms. When symptoms occur they usually include:

  • Thick, yellow or white discharge from the penis
  • Pain or discomfort passing urine
  • Redness around the opening of the penis
  • Anal discharge and discomfort
  • Sore, dry throat.

Women - most infected women do not have symptoms. If left untreated, gonorrhoea can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). This condition may lead to complications, including infertility.

  • When symptoms occur they may include:
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Discomfort passing urine
  • Pelvic pain, especially during intercourse
  • Anal discharge and discomfort
  • Sore, dry throat.

How long until symptoms develop?

Most men develop symptoms within one to three days, and women within 10 days.

How do you test for gonorrhoea?

Swabs (a sample of secretions) from the genital or throat areas are taken.

How is it treated?

Gonorrhoea is easily and effectively treated with antibiotics.

When is it safe to have sex again?

  • You should not have any sexual contact for seven days after completion of treatment (not even sex with a condom).
  • You must ensure you do not have sex with any previous or current partners until seven days after they are also treated. Otherwise you may catch it again.

Do I let my partners know?

  • Yes. We strongly encourage you to let all of your sexual partners in the last 3 months know that they have been a contact of gonorrhoea. You should advise all these partners to get tested and treated (even if you think you know who you got this infection from).
  • Include any partners you’ve had any sexual contact with, this includes vaginal or anal sex, oral sex and any other genital to genital contact (even if a condom was used).
  • Gonorrhoea often has no symptoms, so it’s still important for your partners to be tested and treated even if they show no sign of infection.

How can I let my partners know?

  • Most people find this is best done directly, either in person or by phone call or text message. If you don’t feel comfortable contacting partners personally, there are two websites to help you send a free and anonymous text message or email:

How do I avoid re-infection?

  • It is possible to catch gonorrhoea again even after you have been treated.
  • Your best way to avoid catching it again is to tell your partners and make sure current partners are treated.
  • Always use condoms with all future partners.
  • Have regular sexual health screens.

For free and confidential information and treatment for sexually transmissible infections and information on safer sex contact the Sexual Health Service.

Free call from anywhere in Tasmania on 1800 765 859.

May 2018