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Diseases » Gonorrhea » Contagiousness

Is Gonorrhea Contagious?

Transmission of Gonorrhea from Person to Person

Gonorrhea is considered to be contagious between people. Generally the infectious agent may be transmitted by saliva, air, cough, fecal-oral route, surfaces, blood, needles, blood transfusions, sexual contact, mother to fetus, etc.
Gonorrhea, although infectious, is not a genetic disease. It is not caused by a defective or abnormal gene.
The contagious disease, Gonorrhea, can be transmitted:

  • by sexual conduct between people.
  • from the mother to her fetus.

Contagion summary:

Spread by sexual activity; sometimes from infected clothing or towels; also mother-to-infant transmission in childbirth.

Contagiousness properties for Gonorrhea:

  Contagious by sex?: Yes

  Contagious by anal sex?: Yes

  Contagious by vaginal sex?: Yes

  Contagious from clothing?: Yes

  Contagious from towels?: Yes

  Contagious mother to baby during childbirth?: Yes

Discussion about Contagion of Gonorrhea:

Gonorrhea: DSTD (Excerpt)

Gonorrhea is spread through sexual contact (vaginal, oral, or anal). This includes penis-to- vagina, penis-to-mouth, penis-to-anus, mouth-to-vagina, and mouth-to-anus contact. Ejaculation does not have to occur for gonorrhea to be transmitted or acquired. Gonorrhea can also be spread from mother to child during birth.

Gonorrhea infection can spread to other unlikely parts of the body. For example, a person can get an eye infection after touching infected genitals and then the eyes. Individuals who have had gonorrhea and received treatment may get infected again if they have sexual contact with persons infected with gonorrhea. (Source: excerpt from Gonorrhea: DSTD)

Gonorrhea, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID (Excerpt)

Gonorrhea is spread during sexual intercourse vaginal, oral, and anal. People who practice anal intercourse can get gonorrhea of the rectum. Even women who do not engage in anal intercourse can get gonorrhea of the rectum if the bacteria are spread from the vaginal area.

Infected women can pass gonorrhea to their newborn infants during delivery, causing eye infections in their babies. This complication is rare because newborn babies receive eye medicine to prevent infection. When the infection occurs in the genital tract, mouth, or rectum of a child, it is due most commonly to sexual abuse. (Source: excerpt from Gonorrhea, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Lesbian-Health: NWHIC_1 (Excerpt)

There is no evidence at this time that gonorrhea, syphilis, or chlamydia is sexually transmitted between women who are sexually active with women, but large studies have not been done. The majority of lesbian women are sexually exclusive with women (although 90% have been heterosexually active at some time): however, there are some lesbians who do have male partners, and this subpopulation of lesbians are at risk for gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. (Source: excerpt from Lesbian-Health: NWHIC_1)

About contagion and contagiousness:

Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily the spread of Gonorrhea is possible from one person to another. Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness", "transmission" or "transmissability". Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics or inheriting diseases from parents. For an overview of contagion, see Introduction to Contagion.


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