About Gonorrhea

Any sexually active individual can get gonorrhea, a very common sexually transmitted disease (STD). Gonorrhea is especially common among young people ages 15-24 years old. Gonorrhea can cause very serious complications when left untreated, but can be cured with proper medication.

How is it transmitted?

Gonorrhea is spread through any kind of sexual contact (vaginal, oral, or anal) with an infected partner. Individuals who have received treatment for gonorrhea may be reinfected if they have sexual contact with a person infected with gonorrhea.

Since gonorrhea can be spread at multiple sites (vaginal, oral, and anal), it is important that you have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider for appropriate testing.

Signs and Symptoms

It is important to note that the most common symptom of an STD, especially Gonorrhea, is NO SYMPTOM AT ALL. Many, if not most, individuals with gonorrhea are asymptomatic, meaning they have no signs or symptoms presenting the infection. When present, signs and symptoms of urethral infection include dysuria (pain with urination) or a white, yellow, or green urethral discharge. This usually appears 1-14 days after infection. If the urethral infection is complicated by epididymitis, gonorrhea may also cause testicular or scrotal pain.

Symptoms are often so mild and nonspecific for females that they are easily mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Initial symptoms may include dysuria (pain with urination), increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Females are also at risk of developing serious complications from the infection (e.g. pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID), regardless of the presence or severity of symptoms.

Rectal infections may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Rectal infection may also be asymptomatic. Gonorrhea can also present in the throat, which may cause soreness, but usually is asymptomatic.


Gonorrhea can be cured with dual therapy medication treatment. It is important to take all of the medication prescribed and should not be shared.

If symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, please call Student Health at 215-746-3535 and press option 3 to speak with a nurse.


Similar to most STDs, correct use of condoms every time anal, vaginal, and oral sex takes place is the best protection.

Once an individual is diagnosed, they MUST tell all recent anal, vaginal, or oral sex partners within the past 2 months before the onset of symptoms or diagnosis so they can also get tested and treated.



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(updated 11/7/2017)