(Neisseria gonorrhoeae)

About Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is one of the most common STIs and may not have any symptoms.

Transmission Symptoms Testing How often to test

How is gonorrhoea transmitted?

Gonorrhoea has crafty ways of attaching itself to the inside parts of your body, allowing it to set up inside you. The bacterium that causes gonorrhoea doesn’t survive well outside the body, so it needs close contact between people to go from one person to another. But where you’re having close contact with another person, the gonorrhoea bacterium is really good at getting into your body.

In fact, anything from kissing and fingering to oral, anal, and vaginal sex can let the gonorrhoea bacterium in.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhoea?

The symptoms of gonorrhoea can show up differently, depending on what genitals you have. It can show up in your throat and rectum, too. Sometimes, gonorrhoea can have no symptoms at all.

For those with a penis, you may notice the following:

  • Discharge from the penis or rectum
  • Redness around the opening of the penis
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Swollen and sore testicles
  • A dry, uncomfortable sore throat.

For those with a vagina, you may notice the following:

  • Unfamiliar vaginal discharge and/or irregular bleeding
  • Discharge from the rectum
  • Pain when having sex
  • A dry, uncomfortable sore throat.

How soon after sex should I test for gonorrhoea?

​The window period for gonorrhoea is 7 to 14 days. This is the time between coming into contact with gonorrhoea and when the test is able to detect it. 

If a sexual partner has let you know that you may have come into contact with gonorrhoea, or if you have symptoms that sound similar to gonorrhoea, don’t freak out. But it is a good idea to see a doctor, as they might decide to give you medicine straight away.  If you live in Brisbane, our RAPID clinic can test for gonorrhoea. A great list of doctors to go to can be found here, or you can visit your local sexual health clinic

How often should I test for gonorrhoea?

Usually, testing every 3 to 12 months is appropriate, depending on how much sex you’re having.

A good general rule is to test closer to every 3 months the more active you are.


Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can affect both men and women. Syphilis is transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact and is highly contagious when the syphilis sore (chancre) or rash is present.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus that causes inflammation of the liver. This virus is present in the blood of a person living with hepatitis C and can be spread through blood-to-blood contact. The current treatment can cure hepatitis C in more than 90% of people.


Chlamydia is a very common bacterial STI, and often people do not realise they have it. It can affect women and men of all ages, but most frequently occurs in young people who regularly change sexual partners. It can usually be easily treated.

HPV & Related Cancers

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, but research indicates that types 16 and 18 cause 70% of cervical cancers and over 80% of anal cancers worldwide.

Our trained team is here to help you should you have any questions or need support. You can contact QPP toll free from a Queensland land-line on 1800 636 241 or (07) 3013 5555 nationally, email us at info@qpp.org.au or use our contact us form.

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