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Gonorrhea - How Did I Get It?


Dear STD Advice,
I recently found out I have gonorrhea. I think my partner was cheating on me. He says he went to get checked and his test came back negative. Can this be true as I have only had sex with him?
~ Please Help

Dear Please Help,

Gonorrhea is a highly contagious STD. If you have it then your partner should have it too. If he is lying about his test then that may answer your question as to whether or not he has been cheating. The majority of STD testing centers (and health clinics) mail the STD results, thus there should be a printed record that confirms your boyfriend "doesn't have" gonorrhea. You may want to ask him or offer for both of you to go get a full STD test and show each other the results so that both of you are clear on what STDs you do or don't have.

If this is the only partner you have ever had, then it is highly unlikely that you got it from anyone but him. However, if you have had past partners, then it is possible that you had it and didn't know. For men, symptoms of gonorrhea usually show up in 2-30 days. For women, gonorrhea symptoms may not be as apparent because women can carry it for awhile without knowing. Here's what the CDC says on the subject:

"In women, the symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild, and many women who are infected have no symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they can be so non-specific as to be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. The initial symptoms and signs in women include a painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Women with no or mild gonorrhea symptoms are still at risk of developing serious complications from the infection."

Gonorrhea can be spread via oral sex or by touching an infected person's private area then your own. Visit our gonorrhea section for more in-depth information on this STD.

One other thing to note from a psychological standpoint. Most men who get an STD from their partner (or find out a partner has an STD) may accuse the partner of cheating on them. However, many men who cheat then make the same claim may not accuse the partner of cheating because of their guilt over giving the partner an STD. Instead they may just make excuses, lies, or avoid the subject altogether.


If you have a question for the STD Advice column, simply put your question in the anonymous form below and click Submit. Once you click Submit, your question will be anonymously emailed to us. While we can't answer or publish all questions, we do try to questions within a one week period of submission. Check back to see if yours is answered.

Only a physician can properly diagnose whether or not you have an STD. Thus it is important that you get an STD test done if you have a concern. None of the advice given in this column is a substitute for physician advice.

If you think you may have a sexually transmitted disease, you should see a physician immediately to be properly diagnosed and treated. You should not try to diagnose or treat symptoms on your own.

Getting Help for an STD >

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