The bacteria - Neisseria gonorrhoea or gonococcus - are found mainly in the fluid of a woman's vagina or he discharge from a man's penis. The bugs flourish in the genital area, reproducing quickly and spreading to other parts of the body. Women can also pass it on to their babies during childbirth.
Gonorrhoea can be passed on with any type of sexual activity. Remember, for many people (especially women), there aren't any symptoms so you may not know you or your partner is infected. It is passed on by:
- Unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
- Sharing sex toys that have not been washed or covered with a condom
- Touching someone's genitals with your fingers
- Rubbing your genitals together
As gonorrhoea cannot survive outside of the body for long, it is not spread by kissing or sharing swimming pools, toilet seats, towels or cutlery.