Gonorrhea is a very common sexually transmitted infection, especially for teens and people in their 20s. Gonorrhea is sometimes called “the clap” or “the drip.”
Gonorrhea is spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. The infection is carried in semen (cum), pre-cum, and vaginal fluids. Gonorrhea can infect your penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, throat, and eyes (but that’s rare). Most people with gonorrhea don’t have any symptoms and feel totally fine, so they might not even know they’re infected.
Gonorrhea is usually easily cured with antibiotics. But if you don’t treat gonorrhea early enough, it can lead to more serious health problems in the future. That’s why STD testing is so important — the sooner you know you have gonorrhea, the faster you can get rid of it.
You can help prevent gonorrhea by using condoms every time you have sex.
How do you get gonorrhea?
People usually get gonorrhea from having unprotected sex with someone who has the infection. Gonorrhea is spread when semen (cum), pre-cum, and vaginal fluids get on or inside your genitals, anus, or mouth. Gonorrhea can be passed even if the penis doesn’t go all the way in the vagina or anus.
The main ways people get gonorrhea are from having vaginal sex, anal sex, or oral sex. You can also get gonorrhea by touching your eye if you have infected fluids on your hand. Gonorrhea can also be spread to a baby during birth if the mother has it.
Gonorrhea isn’t spread through casual contact, so you CAN’T get it from sharing food or drinks, kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or sitting on toilet seats.
Many people with gonorrhea don’t have any symptoms, but they can still spread the infection to others. So using condoms and/or dental dams every time you have sex is the best way to help prevent gonorrhea — even if you and your partner seem totally healthy.
Yes, there’s such a thing as oral gonorrhea. You can get gonorrhea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has it. However, oral gonorrhea is less common than genital gonorrhea.
If you get oral gonorrhea, you might have an itchy or sore throat that doesn’t go away. You may also notice that you have trouble swallowing. But most people with gonorrhea don’t have any symptoms — that’s why it’s so important to regularly get tested for STDs if you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you do notice any symptoms, if your partner has been diagnosed with gonorrhea or another STD, or if your partner has symptoms, check in with your doctor or nurse or your local Planned Parenthood health center right away.
Oral gonorrhea and strep throat are very different infections.
Oral gonorrhea is a bacterial STD spread by having oral sex, and strep throat is a bacterial infection spread through things like coughing and sneezing.
Gonorrhea infections in the throat don’t usually cause symptoms. If symptoms do show up, you might have an itchy or sore throat that doesn’t go away and trouble swallowing.
Symptoms of strep throat can be very painful, causing a sore throat, pain when swallowing, fever, red and swollen tonsils, and swollen lymph nodes in the front of your neck.
While both are treated with antibiotics, they aren’t the same kind. Only your doctor or nurse can give you a prescription after determining what’s causing your sore throat.
You can protect yourself and others from oral gonorrhea by getting tested regularly and using condoms or dental dams during oral sex. You can protect yourself and others from strep throat by washing your hands regularly, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and staying home when you’re sick, except to get medical care.