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Ask Dr. K

My partner just tested positive for gonorrhea and I'm guessing I also have it, but I show no symptoms. I don't have health insurance and I was wondering how much treatment and testing cost. Thank you.

Gonorrhea (gon-or-e-uh) is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a type of bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoea. Gonorrhea can be transmitted to both male and female partners during vaginal, anal and oral sex from a partner infected in his or her throat, vagina, urethra or anus. Gonorrheal infections are completely curable with antibiotics.

Most men develop symptoms of gonorrhea within two to five days after being exposed, with a possible range of one to thirty days. Although most women are asymptomatic (without symptoms), for those who do have symptoms, they usually appear within 10 days after being exposed. Men who have gonorrhea in the penis or anal area may experience a discharge from the head of the penis or the anus; pain or itching of the head of the penis; swelling of the penis or testicles; pain and/or burning upon urination; frequent urination; anal or rectal itching; white anal discharge; and/or pain during bowel movements. Women with gonorrhea may have a discharge from the vagina; lower abdominal pain, especially during or after sex; unusual bleeding with cramping; pain or burning with urination.

Condoms work very well to prevent the transmission of gonorrhea. In addition to regular condom use, because many STDs occur without any symptoms, men who have sex with men who have multiple partners are encouraged to discuss their sexual risk behavior with their doctor and get regular STD screening tests.

There are several different testing options for gonorrhea. Your medical provider will decide which one is best given your situation and the lab facilities available at the clinic or medical practice. Some tests are done on a urine sample, and some on a swab of the secretions from the infected area.

For treatment, you can visit the San Francisco City Clinic at 356 7th Street. You can get tested and receive treatment for a fee of 10 dollars, regardless of whether you have insurance or not. They will diagnose you, give you a pill, and that will clear up your gonorrhea infection. Give them a call at 415-487-5500 or visit them in person to get tested. You can visit them online at to find out their hours.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Tuesday, December 14, 2010.
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