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What is gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterium. Gonorrhea can grow easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus.

How common is gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a very common infectious disease. CDC estimates that, annually, more than 700,000 people in the United States get new gonorrhea infections and less than half of these infections are reported to CDC. In 2011, 321,849 cases of gonorrhea were reported to CDC.

How do people get gonorrhea?
People get gonorrhea by having sex with someone who has the disease. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex. Gonorrhea can still be transmitted via fluids even if a man does not ejaculate. Gonorrhea can also be spread from an untreated mother to her baby during childbirth.
People who have had gonorrhea and have been treated may get infected again if they have sexual contact with a person infected with
gonorrhea.

Who is at risk for gonorrhea?
Any sexually active person can be infected with gonorrhea. It is a very common STD. In the United States, the highest reported rates of
infection are among sexually active teenagers, young adults, and African Americans.

To read more about this topic, including symptoms and treatments, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You may also wish to see related HealthyNJ pages: Chlamydia, Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Syphilis, and Trichomoniasis and other Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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