- Swab: A swab is taken of the urethra (men), cervix (women), throat (for people who have had oral sex), eye, and/or rectum (for people who have receptive anal sex). For women, the cervical swab is taken as part of a pelvic exam done with a speculum.
- Urine: Some providers will also use a urine test to diagnose gonorrhea.
Once a sample has been acquired, it is sent to a laboratory for testing. Depending on the sample and the lab, testing may involve growing gonorrhea from the sample, looking for bacterial DNA, or using antibodies to identify whether or not the sample contains any bacteria.
Some providers can also do a test called a Gram stain in their office at the time of your visit. For this test, a sample taken from the urethra or cervix is stained with a special dye that makes it easy to spot Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea, under the microscope. Although this test can provide results faster than other forms of testing, it may not be as accurate, and some doctors offices are not equipped to provide it.