As gonorrhoea can be symptomless, it's important that you get tested at least once a year or every time you change sexual partner, if you have another STI or if you are a woman who is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. The test is simple and accurate. A swab is used to take samples of cells from areas that may be infected. For women, this may be from the vagina or the cervix (neck of the womb) and for men this may a swab of discharge at the end of the penis. Men may also be tested by providing a urine sample but this is not used for women, as it is not as accurate in females. If you believe you may have developed gonorrhoea from recent sexual activity, you must wait a few days before doing the test.
If you do test positive, you should contact anyone you have had sex with in the past 14 days, or your last partner if it is longer ago.
You can be tested for gonorrhoea in different ways. We recommend you choose a place and a method that is the most comfortable for you.
A gonorrhoea test can be done at:
- your own home with a self-collecting test
- a sexual health clinic
- a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic
- your GP
- a contraception and young people's clinic
If, for whatever reason, you don't want to get tested by your GP or at a busy clinic, you can order an easy-to-use gonorrhoea self-collection test kit from our online sexual health shop. The test is simple, inexpensive and painless (although for women who need a swab from their vagina, it may be briefly uncomfortable). In many cases, men only need to provide a urine sample. The kit contains easy-to-follow instructions and everything can be done discreetly at a time and place convenient to you. You'll know your results within 24 hours of the laboratory receiving your sample.
This can be done two ways:
- a urine sample will be analysed in the laboratory. For a reliable result, don't pee for two hours before
- a clean cotton swab is rubbed against an area of possible infection to collect fluids and cells for analysis. In women this could be the inside of the vagina or the cervix (neck of the womb). In men this could be discharge on the end of the penis
In 2017, 11,475 women and 33,129 men tested positive for Gonorrhoea in England.
The self-collection test is highly sensitive and its results are comparable to usual clinical tests as it's tested in a laboratory. Only the first step - sampling - is done by you at home. The test is reliable and accurate, whether you test by swab or urine sample.
- You can do it on your own, in private, at a time convenient for you. There is no rush, which you might find at a clinic or GP surgery.
- Your sample is sent to the largest independent provider of clinical laboratory diagnostic services in the UK - The Doctor's Laboratory. Laboratory testing is the most accurate way of testing.
- It doesn't matter if you take a test at your home or at the clinic as both of them are going to laboratories to be checked. The only difference is, if you order a gonorrhoea self-collection kit you only have to wait up to 24 hours to get the results whereas in a clinic, you may have to wait days.
If you become sexually active with a new partner then you could be at risk of contracting gonorrhoea. In many cases, there are no symptoms so your partner may not be aware that he or she is infected. Younger people, between the ages of 15 and 30 are most frequently affected so if you fall into this age group, you are more at risk.
Last updated August 5, 2018