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Gonorrhea Basics

Here are the CDC's answers to common questions about gonorrhea. Find more questions and answers in Gonorrhea—CDC Fact Sheet.

  • Anyone who is sexually active can get gonorrhea.
  • Gonorrhea can be cured with the right medication.
  • Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious health problems in both women and men.

What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both men and women. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. It is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15–24 years.

How is gonorrhea spread?

You can get gonorrhea by having anal, vaginal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea. A pregnant woman with gonorrhea can give the infection to her baby during childbirth.

How can I avoid getting gonorrhea?

You can protect yourself from getting gonorrhea by:

  • Not having sex.
  • Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results.
  • Using latex condoms and dental dams the right way every time you have sex.

Can gonorrhea be cured?

Yes, gonorrhea can be cured with the right treatment. It is important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. Medication for gonorrhea should not be shared with anyone. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not undo any permanent damage caused by the disease.

It is becoming harder to treat some gonorrhea, as drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing. If your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, you should return to a health care provider to be checked again