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Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus.

What to Watch for:

  • Symptoms show up 2-21 days after having sex. Most women and some men have no symptoms.


  • Thick yellow or white discharge from the vagina.
  • Burning or pain when you urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement.
  • Abnormal periods or bleeding between periods.
  • Bleeding from the vagina between periods.
  • Cramps and pain in the lower abdomen (belly).


  • Thick yellow or white drip from the penis.
  • Burning or pain when you urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement.
  • Need to urinate (pee) more often..

How You Get This STD:

  • Spread during vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea.

What Happens If You Don't Get Treated:

  • You can give gonorrhea to your sexual partner(s).
  • Can lead to more serious infection. Reproductive organs can be damaged.
  • Both men and women may no longer be able to have children.
  • A mother with gonorrhea can give it to her baby during childbirth.
  • Can cause heart trouble, skin disease, arthritis and blindness.





Gonorrhea has the next highest incidence of STDs in West Virginia with 1,301 reported cases in 2017, an increase of 38.2% from 2016 (N=941). Gonorrhea infection is most prevalent among 15 to 29 year-old females (N=432, 33%) and 20 to 34 year-old-males (N=412, 32%). Disparity is greater among the African American race at 692.3 (N=437, 34%) by population rate per 100,000.  Gonorrhea is being monitored for increased antibiotic resistance and currently no new treatment regimen has been developed. It is vitally important to treat gonorrhea infections according to the CDC recommended treatment guidelines. Just like chlamydia, gonorrhea can cause infertility issues in women if left untreated.


For more information, call the West Virginia HIV/AIDS & STD Hotline:


Trained professionals are available to speak with you weekdays (except holidays) from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. We can answer your questions about HIV/AIDS and other STDs in West Virginia, how to protect yourself, how to be tested, and how to get treatment.