Sexually Transmitted Disease Facts

Gonorrhea (“Clap”) (caused by Neisseria gonorrhoea, a bacteria)

On this page:
Signs and Symptoms
Transmission
Complications
Prevention
Testing and Treatment
For more Information

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STD Facts: Gonorrhea (English) (PDF: 4KB/1 page)

Signs and Symptoms

  • May be mild or absent, especially in women
  • Usually begin 2-7 days after exposure

For women:  

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, discharge or itching
  • Burning or pain during urination or bowel movement
  • More pain than usual during periods
  • Cramps and pain in lower abdomen
  • Anal discomfort, itching or discharge

For men:  

  • Thick, white or yellow discharge (pus) from penis
  • Burning or pain during urination or bowel movement
  • Anal discomfort, itching or discharge

Transmission

Gonorrhea is spread by:

  • Vaginal sex
  • Oral sex
  • Anal sex
  • Infected mother to newborn

Complications

If left untreated, gonorrhea can:

  • Spread to sex partners
  • Lead to pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Lead to ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
  • Lead to infertility in men and women
  • Cause infection in the joints
  • Make it easier to transmit or acquire HIV during sex  

During pregnancy, gonorrhea infection:  

  • May be passed to newborn during childbirth
  • May cause serious eye infection in newborn
  • May infect other organs

Prevention

  • Avoiding vaginal, oral or anal sex is the best way to prevent STDs.
  • Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of gonorrhea.
  • Always use latex condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
  • Use a latex condom for oral sex on a penis.
  • Use a latex barrier (dental dam or condom cut in half) for oral sex on a vagina or anus.
  • Limit the number of sex partners.
  • Notify sex partners immediately if infected.
  • Make sure partners are tested and treated at same time to prevent re-infection.

Testing and Treatment

  • Get a test from a medical provider if infection is suspected.
  • Gonorrhea can be cured using medication prescribed by a medical provider.
  • Partners should be treated at the same time.  

NOTE: A person can be re-infected after treatment.

For more information, contact:

STD and HIV Section
Minnesota Department of Health
(651) 201-5414

Minnesota Family Planning and STD Hotline Attention: Non-MDH link
1-800-783-2287 Voice/TTY; (651) 645-9360 (Metro)

American Social Health Association (ASHA)
Attention: Non-MDH link

CDC National STD and AIDS Hotlines
Attention: Non-MDH link

1-800-CDC-INFO; 1-888-232-6348 TTY
1-800-344-7432 (Spanish)

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Updated Tuesday, 26-Mar-2013 13:53:09 CDT