Gonorrhea is a bacteria that is spread from person to person during sex. In guys, it can infect the urethra of your penis (the hole you pee through), the anus and rectum, and/or can also be found in the throat. Gonorrhea is not found outside the human body, although it can survive on toys such as dildos for several hours. In 2014 in Ontario, 3,800 men were diagnosed with gonorrhea.
When gonorrhea gets into the urethra of your penis it almost always causes symptoms that will typically develop within 2 to 7 days. Symptoms include burning when you pee and a thick discharge from the urethra. Occasionally, gonorrhea can spread up the urethra and infect the epididyma, the tubes that collect sperm from your balls. This will cause one or both balls to become swollen, red, and painful.
Gonorrhea can also infect the anus and rectum. This can happen if a guy has gonorrhea in the urethra of his penis and he fucks another guy without a condom. He does not have to cum to deposit gonorrhea in the anus. Often, gonorrhea can live inside the anus without causing symptoms. In fact, 75% of guys with gonorrhea in their anus don’t have symptoms, and so don’t know they have it. If symptoms do occur, you may have some rectal discomfort or feel like you need to move your bowels when there is nothing there, or you may notice some discharge from your anus.
Gonorrhea can also live at the back of the throat, delivered there during oral sex. It almost never causes an actual throat infection, and so there are no symptoms. As a result, you can have gonorrhea in your throat and not know it. Only very rarely does gonorrhea cause a sore throat.
Lastly, on rare occasions, gonorrhea can spread from the urethra or rectum and get into the blood stream causing what is referred to as a disseminated infection. When this happens, people feel unwell and usually have a fever. Several joints may become red, swollen, and painful, and small sores containing pus may appear on the skin.
Gonorrhea is diagnosed by detecting the bacteria itself or the bacteria’s DNA. If you have gonorrhea in your urethra, you will wash a few of the bacteria out as you start to pee allowing it to be detected in your urine. Your doctor or nurse will give you a small bottle to pee in. Make sure you start peeing in the bottle to catch the first amount of urine, and pee only a little, about 10 mL. The more you pee in the bottle the more you will dilute the bacteria making them harder to detect. To check for gonorrhea in your throat, your doctor or nurse will use a swab to collect bacteria from the back of your throat and tonsils. Your doctor or nurse will also insert a swab into your anus to collect a sample from there. The urine sample as well as the swabs taken from your throat and anus will be sent to the lab. Results are usually available within 2-7 days.
Gonorrhea is treated with two antibiotics given at the same time. The first antibiotic is called ceftriaxone and is given as a single injection. The second antibiotic is called azithromycin and is given as pills, also as a single dose. Treatment with one dose of ceftriaxone combined with one dose of azithromycin is 98-99% effective. After treatment, you should abstain from sex for 7 days to give the antibiotics time to kill all the gonorrhea that are present.
The most effective way to avoid gonorrhea is to use condoms. This will protect the urethra and anus and rectum when we fuck. Understandably though, most guys don’t like to use condoms for oral sex, and as a result gonorrhea in the throat is not uncommon. Because gonorrhea, particularly when in the throat and anus, can be present without causing symptoms, regular testing is a good idea. A quick little pee in a cup and a swab of your throat and anus can help find any gonorrhea that are flying under the radar. If you are diagnosed with gonorrhea, make sure your sexual partners are also tested and treated. One thing you don’t want to do is to keep swapping gonorrhea back and forth.