More information about Gonorrhea can be found here.

How is Gonorrhea transmitted?

Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in mucus membranes of the body, including the cervix, uterus, urethra, throat mouth and anus.

  • It is spread through sexual contact (penis-to-vaginal, penis-to–mouth, penis-to-anus, mouth-to-vagina, and mouth-to-anus contact). Ejaculation does not have to occur for gonorrhea to be acquired.  Any sexually active person is at risk for gonorrhea. The highest rates for infection are within the 15-24 year old age group.

What are the symptoms?

  • For Men: burning during urination, and a yellowish discharge from the penis. Sometimes painful or swollen testicles.
  • For Women: early signs are often mild and many women have no symptoms at all. Sometimes the symptoms are confused with a bladder or vaginal infection.  The initial symptom may be a burning sensation when urinating and a vaginal discharge that is yellow or occasionally bloody.
  • Even though she may have no symptoms, a woman infected with gonorrhea can develop serious complications from it, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is a serious condition, which may include internal infections, high fever, internal abdominal abscesses, long-lasting pelvic pain, and infertility.
  • Rectal infections may show up as discharge from the rectum, anal itching, soreness, and bleeding and sometimes painful bowel movements. Infections in the throat cause few symptoms.

Get Checked

The SMC Health & Wellness Center provides STI testing for all full-time undergraduate students attending SMC.  Testing is covered under most insurance benefits and we also offer a self-pay option for students seeking confidential results.  Please call the Health & Wellness Center to schedule an appointment at (925) 631.4254.  

Most county health departments have special STI clinics. Private health care providers also treat STI.


The diagnosis is made by sampling the fluid from the infected mucous membrane (cervix, urethra, rectum or throat) and the specimen is taken to a lab for analysis. Antibiotics are given to treat gonorrhea, and because many people with gonorrhea also have chlamydia, antibiotics for both infections are usually given together. Persons with gonorrhea should also be screened for other STDs.

  • All sex partners must be treated, or the infection will return.

How Can Gonorrhea Be Prevented?

  • Condoms need to be used correctly every time you have sex. A
  • Gonorrhea is very common, and it is increasing. Symptoms develop early in men, usually 2-3 days after infection but sometimes they do not develop for as many as 30 days.
  • condom placed on the penis before starting sex and worn until the penis is withdrawn can help protect both the male and female partner. 
  • A female condom can be used if a male condom cannot be used appropriately. Women on the pill or other methods of contraception need to use a condom every time they have sex to prevent STDs.
  • Although condoms prevent most STD transmission, they are not completely protective. Sores and lesions of other STDs on infected men and women may be present on areas not covered by the condom, resulting in transmission of infection to a new person.
  • Limiting the number of sexual contacts will also reduce your risk of gonorrhea and other STDs.
  • Get a screening test for STDs every year, even if you use condoms, just to be safe.
  • If you think you are infected, avoid sexual contact, and see a health care provider immediately. If you are told you are infected, notify all your sex partners immediately. Do not have sex until you and your partner complete the gonorrhea drug treatment.
Maps & Directories

Mailing Address

Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
Google Map | Campus Map | PO Boxes