Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is increasing in New Brunswick. It is caused by bacteria and is easily spread from one person to another by having unprotected vaginal or anal sex with an infected partner. It can also spread through unprotected oral sex and can be passed from mother to child during childbirth. Have you been tested?
What are the symptoms?
It usually takes two to seven days for symptoms to appear. Some people do not have symptoms. If they do appear, symptoms may include:
- unusual discharge from the vagina
- burning feeling when urinating
- vaginal bleeding after sex
- lower abdominal (belly) pain
- pain during sex
- creamy white and yellow discharge from the penis
- burning or pain when urinating
- burning or itching at the opening of the penis
- painful or swollen testicles
Why should I be concerned?
Untreated gonorrhea can result in possible infertility in both males and females. Infection can also spread to other parts of the body, including joints and the bloodstream. This spread can be life-threatening.
In addition, gonorrhea during pregnancy can be passed to the baby in the birth canal during delivery, and can cause blindness, joint infection or a life-threatening blood infection.
Am I at risk?
You are at higher risk of getting gonorrhea if you:
- Have unprotected sex (vaginal, oral or anal) with an infected partner.
- Are a sex trade worker or one of their partners.
- Are a man having unprotected sex with men.
- Have ever had gonorrhea or other STI.
Where do I get tested?
Contact your local sexual health clinic. Testing for gonorrhea can be done with a urine test or through swabbing: a swab from the cervix (in females) and urethra (in males).
How is gonorrhea treated?
Gonorrhea can be cured. It is treated with an antibiotic taken by mouth. The persons with whom you have had sex within the last two months must also be tested and treated, whether they have symptoms or not.
It is important to follow your health care provider’s instructions and finish all your prescribed antibiotics, as gonorrhea is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.