To determine whether you have gonorrhea, your healthcare professional will analyze a sample of cells. Samples can be collected with:

  • A urine test. This can help identify bacteria in your urethra.
  • A swab of the affected area. A swab of your throat, urethra, vagina or rectum can collect bacteria that can be identified in a lab.

Testing for other sexually transmitted infections

Your healthcare professional may recommend tests for other sexually transmitted infections. Gonorrhea increases your risk of these infections, particularly chlamydia, which often accompanies gonorrhea.

Testing for HIV also is recommended for anyone diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection. Depending on your risk factors, tests for other sexually transmitted infections could be beneficial as well.


Gonorrhea treatment in adults

Adults with gonorrhea are treated with antibiotics. Due to emerging strains of drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that uncomplicated gonorrhea be treated with the antibiotic ceftriaxone. This antibiotic is given as a shot, also called an injection.

After getting the antibiotic, you can still spread the infection to others for up to seven days. So avoid sexual activity for at least seven days.

Three months after treatment, the CDC also recommends getting tested for gonorrhea again. This is to make sure people haven't been reinfected with the bacteria, which can happen if sex partners aren't treated, or new sex partners have the bacteria.

Gonorrhea treatment for partners

Your sexual partner or partners from the last 60 days also need to be screened and treated, even if they have no symptoms. If you are treated for gonorrhea and your sexual partners aren't treated, you can become infected again through sexual contact. Make sure to wait until seven days after a partner is treated before having any sexual contact.

Gonorrhea treatment for babies

Babies who develop gonorrhea after being born to someone with the infection can be treated with antibiotics.

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Preparing for your appointment

You'll likely see your primary healthcare professional. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.

Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, if you have any, including those that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment, and when they began.
  • All medicine, vitamins or other supplements you take, including doses.
  • Questions to ask your healthcare professional.

For gonorrhea, questions to ask include:

  • What tests do I need?
  • Should I be tested for other sexually transmitted infections?
  • Should my partner be tested for gonorrhea?
  • How long should I wait before resuming sexual activity?
  • How can I prevent gonorrhea in the future?
  • What gonorrhea complications should I be alert for?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
  • Will I need a follow-up visit?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Questions your healthcare professional is likely to ask you include:

  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Have you been exposed to sexually transmitted infections?

What you can do in the meantime

Avoid sexual activity until you see your healthcare professional. Alert your sex partners that you're having symptoms so that they can arrange to see a member of their healthcare teams for testing.

Jan. 20, 2024
  1. Gonorrhea: CDC fact sheet (detailed version). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/stdfact-gonorrhea-detailed.htm. Accessed Sept. 21, 2023.
  2. Ghanem KG. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection in adults and adolescents. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Sept. 21, 2023.
  3. Gonorrhea. Office on Women's Health. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/gonorrhea. Accessed Sept. 21, 2023.
  4. Gonorrhea. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/gonorrhea. Accessed Sept. 21, 2023.
  5. AskMayoExpert. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and nongonococcal urethritis. Mayo Clinic; 2023.
  6. Speer ME. Gonococcal infection in the newborn. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Sept. 21, 2023.
  7. Workowski KA, et al. Sexually transmitted infections treatment guidelines, 2021. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports. 2021; doi:10.15585/mmwr.rr7004a1.