This bacterial illness is spread through unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex. As a result, it can cause infections in your genitals, rectum, or throat.
Condoms are nearly 100 percent effective at preventing transmission of the disease, says Khalil Ghanem, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and infectious disease at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Signs of gonorrhea: Women often don’t have any symptoms, says Herbenick. And when they do, the signs are usually mild and may mimic a bladder infection—meaning she may not know she’s infected, and there’s no way for you to tell during sex.
As for guys: If the infection is in your throat or rectum, you probably won’t have any symptoms, says Dr. Ghanem.
If the bacteria is targeting your penis, you may see a greenish or yellowish penile discharge or a burning sensation when you pee, Dr. Ghanem says. Testicular pain is another possibility, although it’s rare. These problems usually creep up 3 to 5 days after an exposure.
How to detect gonorrhea: The CDC recommends routine annual screenings for men. But ask your doctor what’s right for you, since it may depend on risk factors like how often you have new partners, says Herbenick.
How to treat gonorrhea: The good news is that gonorrhea can usually be cured with antibiotics.