Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that is transmitted sexually. Many women and some men who have gonorrhea don't have any signs or symptoms. If not treated, gonorrhea can cause a painful penile, vaginal, or rectal discharge, and sometimes a very bad sore throat. It can sometimes lead to swollen and painful joints or lifelong (permanent) damage to your reproductive organs. And in some cases it can make a man or woman unable to have children (infertile). If a pregnant woman has gonorrhea, she can infect her baby during childbirth.

Gonorrhea is also called the clap or the drip.


In men:

  • Pain or burning when peeing

  • Watery, milky, or yellow discharge from the penis or anus

In women:

  • Yellow or white discharge from the vagina or anus

  • Bleeding between periods


Gonorrhea can be cured quickly with antibiotics. If you are being treated, your partner should also be checked by a healthcare provider. Don’t have sex while you are being treated and for a week after.

Closeup of pill bottle and glass of water with man in background.


As with all sexually transmitted infections (STIs), knowing your partner’s sexual history is important. It's a key step in preventing gonorrhea. Also know the signs and symptoms of the infection. And use latex condoms to reduce your risk. Gonorrhea can cause problems in newborn babies. So experts advise screening (testing) all sexually active women younger than 25, and those women over 25 who are at increased risk.

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