Gonorrhea tests tell if a person has this disease. They look for the bacterium, or germ, that causes gonorrhea. Testing is done on body fluid or urine samples.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection. That means it is spread through sexual contact. It does not always cause symptoms.
Tests used to find a gonorrhea infection include:
Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT). NAATs find the genetic material (DNA) of gonorrhea germs. These tests are very accurate. They can be done on urine samples or samples of body fluid from the area where the infection is suspected.
Gonorrhea culture. This test is done on a sample of body fluid collected from the area where the infection is suspected, such as the cervix, urethra, eye, rectum, or throat. The sample is combined with substances that help the gonorrhea germs grow. This test can also tell if the gonorrhea germs are resistant to antibiotics.
Why It Is Done
Tests for gonorrhea are done to:
- See if a gonorrhea infection may be causing symptoms such as painful urination, anal itching or bleeding, vaginal bleeding after intercourse, or abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina.
- Screen women who are at high risk for a gonorrhea infection. Because gonorrhea does not always cause symptoms, screening is important. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends routine gonorrhea screening tests for:1
- All sexually active women ages 24 and younger.
- Women older than 24 who are at higher risk for STIs.
- Pregnant women who have an increased risk for a gonorrhea infection. Treating a pregnant woman who has gonorrhea can prevent an infection in her newborn.
- Check for infection in a newborn whose mother had gonorrhea at the time of delivery.
In some cases, the test is done to see how well treatment is working. This isn't usually needed unless gonorrhea has occurred during pregnancy or a sex partner was not treated.
How To Prepare
Do not urinate for 2 hours before a urine sample is collected.
Women should not douche or use vaginal creams or medicines for at least 24 hours before having a gonorrhea test.