What is Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is highly contagious infection which can be spread by vaginal, oral or anal contact. If you contract the infection, there is an increased risk of getting other STDs, including HIV. It is one of the fastest growing STIs in the world and usually causes no symptoms at first.

It can be a major cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility in women. In men, it can cause inflammation of the testicles and prostate.


How can I get Gonorrhoea?

Any sexual activity with an infected person means that you are at risk of contracting Gonorrhoea. It can live in the genital tract, throat and rectum of both men and women, as well as the testes, penis and semen of males and the vagina of females.

What are the symptoms of Gonorrhoea?

Although symptoms are typically mild or non-existent, when there are symptoms, they will usually start between 5 and 30 days after contact and differ slightly between men and women.

Symptoms may include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Yellowish discharge from the vagina / vaginal bleeding (women)
  • Painful or swollen testicles (men)
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Sore throat.
Did you know? …

Gonorrhoea rates in South Africa are amongst the highest in the world, with many people experiencing no symptoms.

How do I test for Gonorrhoea?

Testing at Better2Know is fast, easy and painless. Our clinics will usually ask you to provide a urine sample. If you require a swab of the throat or rectum, we can arrange this for you. Please let our booking team know.

Results are available two days from when your sample is received in the laboratory. You can be tested at any Better2Know clinic in South Africa. Please do not urinate for three hours prior to getting tested.

How is Gonorrhoea treated?

The infection is curable and can be treated with a course of antibiotics. If you test positive, we will book you a doctor's consultation at no further cost. You can instead take your results to your own doctor, if you prefer.

What are the adverse consequences?

Gonorrhoea is one of the most important preventable causes of infertility. Most infected women have no symptoms until their fertility is affected. If left untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can result in 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 birth, and Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM). Mothers can transmit the bacteria to their unborn child during pregnancy or labour. Newborn infants can develop an infection most commonly in the eyes and may eventually go blind if left untreated.

Men with an untreated infection are more likely to develop prostate cancer.