Gonorrhea (pronounced: gone uh ree uh) is sometimes called “the clap” or “the drip.” It is a very common STD caused by a bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, that infects about 820,000 people in the U.S. annually. Any sexually active person can get gonorrhea though the highest rates of infection are reported among teenagers, young adults, and African-Americans.

It is called the drip because men that get infected in their urethra get dysuria (painful urination) or a white, yellow, or green discharge that usually appears within 2 weeks after infection. View example photos here. Some men will not get any gonorrhea symptoms. 4 out of 5 women will not experience any symptoms either, but women who do may have abdominal pain, bleeding between periods, fever, menstrual irregularities, painful intercourse, painful urination, swelling or tenderness of the vulva, frequent urge to pee, vomiting, or yellow/ greenish vaginal discharge. Infections in women can affect the urethra and reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Both men and women can get infected in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus. They may experience itching in these areas.

Gonorrhea is spread through oral, vaginal, anal intercourse, and in some cases from a woman to her baby during birth. Condoms and other latex/ plastic barriers are pretty effective against gonorrhea when used correctly and consistently. If left untreated, gonorrhea can pose a serious health risk and cause permanent damage in both men and women. Potential side effects include: infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), arthritis, epididymitis, disseminated gonococcal infection. Pregnant women can also have premature labor or stillbirth; they can also pass the infection to their baby, which can cause blindness, joint infection, or a life-threatening blood infection.

Because of the “quietness” of a gonorrhea infection and its dangerous effects, it is usually tested for during a regular pap smear or STD test. Gonorrhea is tested for via a urine sample or by a swab of the vagina, rectum, throat, or urethra. In most cases gonorrhea is easily curable with antibiotics. However! There are strains of gonorrhea making their way around the world that are resistant to the typical treatments, complicating the process. In June, 2012 the World Health Organization issued an alert that there is an impending threat for an untreatable form of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea that could potentially initiate an epidemic. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that this gonorrhea is an “Immediate public health threat that requires urgent and aggressive action,” estimating about 30% of cases are no longer treatable with the usual medicines.

To find a location to get tested for gonorrhea visit our resources page, or Google test centers in your area.

***This is a blog and the information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, nor is it meant to take the place of your personal physician’s advice.***