Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection.

How is it passed on?

Gonorrhoea can be passed on through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are unable to survive outside the body for long periods of time. Gonorrhoea is not spread through hugging and kissing, sharing baths, swimming in a shared pool, cups or toilet seats.


Many people with gonorrhoea have no symptoms, it is important therefore to test regularly.

A person with gonorrhoea may experience symptoms anytime from a few weeks to months or years after the initial infection.

When symptoms do occur they can cause changes in vaginal discharge, pelvic pain or irregular periods. They can also cause pain when urinating and discharge from the end of the penis.

Long term effects

It is possible for some women to experience long term problems from gonorrhoea, these include reduced fertility or an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. Gonorrhoea can also increase the chances of getting or passing on HIV in both men and women.

How can I get tested?

You can order a postal STI test with our digital partner SH:24 here or you can find a Dorset Sexual Health clinic to get tested there.

The STI test kit


The test is a vaginal swab for women, for men this is a urine sample. Men who have sex with men will also be offered anal and oral swabs.

It can take up to two weeks for gonorrhoea to show up in test results.


Treatment for gonorrhoea is with an antibiotic injection or antibiotic tablets.

After you and your partner are treated you should not have sex for 7 days.

When will I know my results?

As soon as your test results are available we will send you a text message. If the result is positive for gonorrhoea we will let you know how to get treatment.

Telling your partner

If you have gonorrhoea, you should tell all current partners as well as anyone else you have had sex with in the last three months. Current and previous partners may have gonorrhoea without knowing, so it is important for them to be tested.

How to avoid gonorrhoea

Condoms can help prevent gonorrhoea infection.

Free condoms are available at sexual health clinics and through the C-Card scheme if you are under 20

Testing each time you change sexual partner helps reduce the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).


Can my partner(s) tell if I have gonorrhoea?

They may be able to tell if you have symptoms of the infection but not if you don’t. However, you should tell your partner(s) if you have gonorrhoea as they will need testing and may need treatment. They may also be the source of the infection but be unaware.

Does gonorrhoea affect your fertility?

Recurrent gonorrhoea or untreated gonorrhoea could affect your fertility. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of the infection is likely to minimise this risk.

To make an appointment or for further advice, please call:

0300 303 1948

Phoneline open 08:15-16:45 Monday-Friday

(closed 12:30-13:30 for lunch)