What is it?

Gonorrhea is an STI caused by bacteria. It’s a very common STI, especially among people ages 15-24. If it goes untreated, chlamydia can cause serious health issues. For people who have female reproductive systems, it can cause long-term pain and could make it hard or impossible to become pregnant. For people with male reproductive systems, it could cause a painful health condition and also make it hard or impossible to cause a pregnancy.

How can someone get it?

People can get gonorrhea through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea. People can be infected with gonorrhea in their vagina, anus, penis, and throat. It can spread from one part of the body to another. A pregnant person can pass it to their baby during childbirth.

How can it be prevented?

Gonorrhea can be prevented by

  • using condomsinternal condoms, or dental dams as a barrier between the bodies;

  • not having sex or being abstinent;

  • getting tested regularly, especially with new sexual partners, to know your status;

  • talking openly, honestly, and without judgment with sexual partners about STIs;

  • learning how to care of your health.


The majority of people who have chlamydia have no symptoms.

If they do have symptoms, they might be:

  • A burning feeling when peeing

  • Discharge (fluid) from the vagina or penis that is different than usual

  • Discharge or bleeding from the rectum

  • Bleeding between periods

Who should get tested?

People should get tested if they are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above.

In the following cases, people should get tested soon

  • If some of the symptoms listed above are noticed.

  • If other symptoms like bumps, swelling, or sores are noticed.

  • When someone has a new sexual partner.

  • When someone is told by a sexual partner that they have gonorrhea or other STI.

  • When someone is pregnant.

How is it tested?

Gonorrhea can be tested by using urine or blood samples. Another common test is using a swab to get fluid from the throat, vagina, or rectum. If someone thinks they could have gotten gonorrhea from performing oral sex or receiving anal sex, they should do a swab of these parts of the body. People can do the swab by themselves or a medical provider could do it. Swab tests can be done at a medical provider visit or at home through CDPHE’s partnership with Binx.

How is it treated?

Gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics. It is really important to take all of the medication for it to stop the infection. Even if someone doesn’t have any symptoms, untreated gonorrhea can cause serious health problems.

Just because someone was cured doesn’t mean that they can’t get gonorrhea again, the medication doesn’t prevent it. Many people get reinfected, which is why it is important to tell sexual partners so they can also get treatment. When getting treated for gonorrhea, a medical provider may ask for the person to return in a few months to get tested again.

Where to get checked?

If you are in Pueblo, Colorado, contact the Family Planning Clinic from Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.

English: Call (719) 583-4380. Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
Español: Llama (719) 583-4376. Lunes a viernes 8:00 AM a 4:30 PM. 

If you are somewhere else in the United States you can find other resources here.

Go Ask Tara

Go Ask Tara is on a mission to provide sex education and help the youth of Colorado prevent pregnancy and STIs.