Gonorrhoea test

If you think you have been at risk of acquiring gonorrhoea you are advised to have a gonorrhoea test. Gonorrhoea is a common STI which is passed from person to person through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex. Gonorrhoea can infect the vagina, cervix, urethra, rectum, throat and even the eye.

Up to 50% of infected women and 10% of infected men experience no symptoms. In women who do have symptoms, these may include a change in vaginal discharge, pain on urinating, pelvic pain or pain during sex, and bleeding in between periods or heavier periods. In infected men with symptoms these may include a penile discharge, pain on urinating or discomfort in the urethra/shaft of the penis and occasionally testicular swelling/pain or an inflamed head of the penis. If the rectum is infected a person may experience anal discharge or anal discomfort.

If left untreated, gonorrhoea can cause serious complications such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, chronic pain and arthritis. Fortunately, gonorrhoea can be easily detected and treatment is relatively straightforward.

If you suspect you may have been at risk of being infected with gonorrhoea (for example, if you have had unprotected sex, because a partner has tested positive, or you have genital symptoms), you should get tested as soon as possible.

Where can I get a gonorrhoea test?

Any of our sexual health clinics provide gonorrhoea tests free of charge to anyone who feels that they may have been at risk of having contracted the infection. No GP referral is required. Should your test prove positive, we provide gonorrhoea treatment free of charge. Your confidentiality will be respected at all times.

What does a gonorrhoea test involve?

Female gonorrhoea test

A doctor or nurse may take a swab from your cervix and urethra during an internal examination. In some circumstances an internal examination is not required and you just need to provide a urine sample. Before providing a urine sample you should not urinate for one hour.

Male gonorrhoea test

A doctor or nurse may take a swab from your urethra during a genital examination. In some instances you just need to provide a urine sample. Before having either test you should not urinate for two hours.

Other gonorrhoea tests

A doctor or nurse may also take a swab from inside the anus and/or from the throat in some men and women.

In most instances the gonorrhoea test is non-invasive—in some instances it can be minimally invasive and momentarily uncomfortable.

When will the results of my gonorrhoea test be available?

If a person has swabs taken from the cervix, urethra or rectum we can use a microscope to identify if a person is infected with gonorrhoea. This result is available within minutes of the test being taken. Treatment will be offered in the event gonorrhoea is detected on microscopy. It takes seven working days for the results of all other gonorrhoea tests to be available.

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