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Gonorrhoea has many nicknames; ‘The Clap’, ‘Drip’ or ‘A Dose’ and can be transmitted to the throat, cervix, urethra, anus or eyes. If left untreated, it is similar to chlamydia in that it can cause inflammation and scarring in the reproductive tract and potentially lead to infertility.

Signs and Symptoms

A good way to tell if a client with a penis has gonorrhoea is to ‘milk’ the penis (before they shower or go to the toilet!). Gently squeeze the penis along the shaft and if a thick discharge appears, it may be gonorrhoea.


Often no symptoms, however, if signs are present there may be:

  • Green or yellow vaginal discharge
  • Unpleasant vaginal odour
  • Pain when urinating
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Pain or bleeding during vaginal sex


Sometimes no symptoms, however, if signs are present there may be:

  • White or yellow pus-like discharge
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain or swelling in testicles


Often no symptoms, however, if signs are present there may be:

  • Anal itch
  • Anal or rectal heaviness
  • Anal discharge
  • Anal bleeding


Often no symptoms, however, if signs are present there may be:

  • Sore throat


  • Red or discharging eye like conjunctivitis


  • Unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex
  • Docking or nudging without condoms
  • Mutual masturbation and fingering or fisting without protection
  • Sharing sex toys without protection
  • Semen or vaginal fluids entering the eye
  • Parent to baby during birth
  • Kissing may be a pathway of transmission for gonorrhoea. Scarlet Alliance will continue to monitor the research and notify sex workers if facts and recommendations change. 


Gonorrhoea is treated with antibiotics, but some strains are becoming resistant to commonly used antibiotics such as ceftriaxone. Inform a doctor if exposure to gonorrhoea occurred while overseas or from an overseas client, as many resistant strains come from outside of Australia.


Use condoms or dams for anal, vaginal and oral sex. Point the penis away from the face during Spanish or hand relief to prevent semen from getting in the eyes. Don’t touch the genitals or the eyes if the hands have come in contact with body fluids.

It is possible to transfer gonorrhoea between sites such as your anus, vagina and throat via fingers or a condom. For this reason, if you are performing oral, vaginal and anal sex, it is important to get all the respective swabs and you may also want to change condoms when changing between oral, anal and vaginal sex.

There is some preliminary research that suggests that gargling Listerine zero could inhibit the growth of the bacteria responsible for pharyngeal gonorrhoea. The results of this research are not yet definitive, but gargling with Listerine zero does not increase risk and will not do any harm.

Note: it is recommended that you always change condoms when going from anal to vaginal or oral sex.