Gonorrhoea is usually treated with a short course of antibiotics.
Antibiotics are usually recommended if:
- tests have shown you have gonorrhoea
- there's a high chance you have gonorrhoea, even though your test results have not come back yet
- your partner has been diagnosed with gonorrhoea
In most cases, treatment involves having an antibiotic injection (usually in the buttocks or thigh) followed by 1 antibiotic tablet. It's sometimes possible to have another antibiotic tablet instead of an injection, if you prefer.
If you have any symptoms of gonorrhoea, these will usually improve within a few days, although it may take up to 2 weeks for any pain in your pelvis or testicles to disappear completely.
Attending a follow-up appointment a week or two after treatment is usually recommended, so another test can be carried out to see if you're clear of infection.
You should avoid having sex until you, and your partner, have been treated and given the all-clear, to prevent re-infection or passing the infection on to anyone else.
If your symptoms do not improve after treatment or you think you've been infected again, see your doctor or nurse. You may need repeat treatment or further tests to check for other problems.
Gonorrhoea is easily passed on through intimate sexual contact. If you're diagnosed with it, anyone you've recently had sex with may have it too.
It's important that your current partner and any other recent sexual partners are tested and treated.
Your local genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic may be able to help by notifying any of your previous partners on your behalf.
A contact slip can be sent to them explaining that they may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and suggesting they go for a check-up. The slip will not have your name on it, so your confidentiality is protected.
Treating babies with gonorrhoea
Babies with signs of a gonorrhoea infection at birth, or who have an increased risk of infection because their mother has gonorrhoea, will usually be given antibiotics immediately after they're born.
This does not harm the baby, and helps prevent blindness and other complications of gonorrhoea.
Page last reviewed: 29 June 2018
Next review due: 29 June 2021