What is Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is a highly contagious infection which can be spread by unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sexual contact. If you contract the infection, there is an increased risk of getting other STIs, including HIV.

Gonorrhoea is one of the fastest growing sexually transmitted infections in the world.  It often causes no symptoms in the preliminary stages. It can be a major cause of infertility in women, and cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). In men, Gonorrhoea can cause reduced fertility, swelling or inflammation of the testicles and/or of the prostate gland.  

Gonorrhoea is becoming increasinly resistant to many antibiotics.  It is important to test regularly and to get appropriate treatment to ensure that you protect your health.  You should also have a test of cure two weeks after you finish your medication.

How is it transmitted?

Any sexual activity with an infected person carries a risk of contracting Gonorrhoea. The infection can live in the genital tract, throat and rectum of both men and women, as well as the testes, penis and semen of men and in the vagina and uriniary tract of women.

How will I know if I have it?

Symptoms of Gonorrhoea are typically mild or non-existent in the early stages. When there are symptoms, they will usually start between 5 and 30 days after you contract the infection. Symptoms differ slightly between men and women, and may include:

  • A burning sensation when urinating for both men and women
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Sore throat
  • For women: a yellowish discharge from the vagina, or vaginal bleeding
  • For men: unusual discharge, painful or swollen testicles


Gonorrhoea testing with Better2Know is fast, efficient and painless. We can use a swab or urine sample to detect infection. You can be tested for Gonorrhoea at any of Better2Know’s testing facilities across Africa.


The infection is currently curable, and can be treated with a course of antibiotics if detected.  You should have a further gonorrhoea test two weeks after you have finished your antibiotics to check that your antibiotics have worked as expected.

Adverse Consequences

In women, Gonorrhoea is a preventable cause of infertility.  Though most infected women show no symptoms until their fertility is affected. This is why regular testing is important.  An infection can also lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID can lead to infertility and potentially fatal tubal (ectopic) pregnancy.

Pregnant women with the infection can have higher rates of miscarriage, infection of the amniotic sac and fluid, preterm (early) birth, and Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM). Mothers can transmit the bacteria to their unborn child during pregnancy or labour. New-born infants can develop an infection, most commonly in the eyes, and may eventually go blind if left untreated.

In men, an untreated infection can cause reduced fertility, damage your testicles and cause other uncomfortable symptoms.  There is also evidence that Gonorrhoea infections may contribute to an increate risk of developing prostate cancer.