Gonorrhoea (the clap)

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) which used to be called 'the clap'. Most females and some males have no symptoms at all - so you don't know when you have it or when your partner has it.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Most males get a yellow discharge from the penis and a burning sensation when passing urine.
  • Most females have no symptoms at all. Some may notice unusual vaginal discharge, pain when passing urine and lower belly pain.
  • Both males and females may have a sore throat.

Risky when:

You have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex, that is, without a condom or dam.

What can happen:

If gonorrhoea is left untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in females and infertility in males. PID is when the infection spreads into a woman's reproductive organs and may cause infertility (so you can't have a baby). Gonorrhoea can also cause a condition which gives males very sore testes (balls).


If you have gonorrhoea your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Your doctor will ask you about other people you may have had unprotected sex with - as they could also have gonorrhoea. This is called contact tracing.


  • Always use condoms or dams and water-based lubricant.
  • Before you have sex, talk with your partner about the importance of safer sex.
  • Be open with your partner and make sure you or they don't have any other sex partners.
  • Limit your sex partners.
  • Have regular STI tests.

Other STIs and BBVs

Bacterial vaginosis

Chlamydia Molluscum contagiosum
Genital herpes Pubic lice (crabs)
Genital warts (HPV) Scabies
Gonorrhoea (the clap) Syphilis (the pox)
Hepatitis A Thrush
Hepatitis B Trichomoniasis
Hepatitis C Getting an STI test