What you need to know about gonorrhoea

You might have heard that the UK has had the first case of ‘super’ gonorrhoea. Here’s what you need to know about it.

At 56 Dean Street we are monitoring things closely by culturing and checking for resistance in all of the 7000 gay men we diagnose with gonorrhoea each year. If you have any symptoms do get in for testing and make sure you get a regular sexual health check every three months.

What is super gonorrhoea?

Super-gonorrhoea is a strain of gonorrhoea that does not respond to the usual antibiotics used to treat the infection. The gonorrhoea bacteria evolves continuously and is becoming resistant every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection. It’s more common in some low- and middle-income countries where antibiotic use isn’t regulated. Please let us know if you develop symptoms after travelling abroad to foreign countries (e.g. Thailand).

At the moment there are still some treatment options available for people who have super-gonorrhoea, but it may involve an drip given through a vein.

How is gonorrhoea spread?

Gonorrhoea is easily passed between people through:

  • Unprotected oral and anal sex
  • By sex toys that haven’t been washed or covered with a new condom each time they’re used

The bacteria can infect your penis, rectum, throat and less commonly the eyes. It is important to remember that gonorrhoea isn’t spread by hugging, sharing baths or towels, swimming pools, toilet seats, or sharing cups, plates and cutlery, because the bacteria can’t survive outside the human body for long.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Typical symptoms of gonorrhoea include a thick green or yellow discharge from the penis and pain when urinating. However, around 1 in 10 infected men don’t experience any symptoms. It’s really common for people with gonorrhoea in the throat or rectum to have no symptoms. That’s why Public Health England recommends gay men test every 3 months if they have lots of new partners.

What should I do?

If a recent sexual partner tells you they have gonorrhoea, you should come and see us as quickly as possible. People with no symptoms can walk into Dean Street Express. If you had sex with them in the last 2 weeks we’ll offer treatment right away. That’s because the tests only become really accurate 2 weeks after someone catching the infection.

If it’s more than 2 weeks since you last had sex together. We’ll wait a few hours for the rapid test result to come back.

If you develop symptoms of gonorrhoea, you should book an appointment at 56 Dean Street for a sexual health check-up.

It is important to get tested as soon as possible, because gonorrhoea can lead to more serious long-term health problems if it’s not treated.

Please visit our appointments page if you need to come see us.