Gonorrhea -- Now What?
July 14, 2006 9:30 AM   Subscribe

So I think I went out and got myself a case of gonorrhea. (Just what I always wanted!) What are my treatment options for getting this taken care of ASAP? I understand that it can generally be handled with a course of antibiotics... but how can I best go about getting them? I don't have a regular doctor right now -- I've just made an appointment with a new doctor for the end of the month, but I'd prefer to get on top of this before then (since leaving it unattended for more than two weeks seems like a bad idea). I'm a gay guy in NYC, so advice specific to that milieu would be superb, but in the name of creating a valuable reference thread I'd be interested to see information aimed at less specific contexts as well.

Before you ask, since anonymous folks can't respond in-thread: I idiotically had unprotected sex with a guy I didn't know particularly well (first --and last -- time I've ever done such a stupid thing); yes, I'm well aware that I could have been exposed to HIV (I've got every reason to believe the partner in question was negative, but the simple fact that he was OK with unprotected sex does put a question mark over everything), and I do get tested regularly and will get tested both later this month and three months later; and yes, I've self-diagnosed this -- I've had redness around the tip of my penis / meatus and a persistent tingling itch for about a week now, and I'm now twelve days out from exposure (No discharge yet, but here's sarcastically hopin'!) I'm also well aware of the fact that I should've known better, but I'm young and have now most decidely learned my lesson -- the anxiety of the "God damn it, this isn't going away" phase alone has been enough to scare me back into condom use for a good long time...
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)

See if you're local clinic has an "urgent care" department. Any Doctor worth anything should be able to diagnose and treat this. If you're uninsured, it may cost a bit, but you'd have it taken care of stat.
Note: Urgent care is NOT the same as Emergency department.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:36 AM on July 14, 2006

The NYC Health Dept. has free STD clinics with walk-in hours. http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/std/std2.shtml or good ol' 311 for more info. Good luck.
posted by sonofslim at 9:38 AM on July 14, 2006

NYC probably has some good free/sliding scale clinics. I went to one in San Francisco occasionally before I had health insurance, and they didn't charge me a dime, so I just donated as generously as I could afford to.

Planned Parenthood is also not just for women, so don't overlook contacting your local branch to see about an appointment.
posted by padraigin at 9:43 AM on July 14, 2006

Check with your local Planned Parenthood clinic. Obviously their clinical services are aimed at women, but since they already provide HIV testing to men, they may be willing to also diagnose/prescribe for other STDs. If not, they'll be able to point you to the closest clinic that does.
posted by desuetude at 9:44 AM on July 14, 2006

IIRC, the Chelsea clinic from sonofslim's link provides free antibiotics for STI's. If you go there, make sure you get there 15-20 minutes before it opens in the morning (if possible). That's pretty much the fastest option.
posted by unknowncommand at 9:49 AM on July 14, 2006

You're going to want cefixime (especially if you have no allergies to penicillin). If you care, tell your partner to get tested before he infects other people. And, well, yes to help himself. And, yes, I'm glad I know you're stupid for what you did. LATEX people....LATEX. Best of luck in getting better. Most city ERs should treat you -- you might have to wait though.

Read more about it here.
posted by skepticallypleased at 9:52 AM on July 14, 2006

Gay Men's Health Crisis.
posted by hermitosis at 9:57 AM on July 14, 2006

Take a day off from work and go to the free clinic in Chelsea - and dont listen to that nonsense about showing up 15 minutes early.. if you dont want it to consum your whole day you need to be there 45 minutes early at least to be in the front of the line... I've never been to a free clinic that did not have a long line... ( I go every 6 months for regular check ups )

I am surprised you would not know about this option... you seem intelligent enough to use metafilter but not proactive enough to google "NYC STD treatment"

Some of the best free clinics in NYC are geared towards the gay community, its the same here in LA and Washington DC as well. I guess they have the support of their own plus some government funding to run these types of clinics. When I want to do my annoymous HIV and std checking my only real options are they gay clinics in the area (luckily they are open to everone, they just market / cater to that crowd) Anyway, waiting two weeks for a treatment for ANY type of infection is just insane.. go monday if thats the first day the clinic is open.

(P.S they will give you a shot in the tail and the symptoms will fade within 24-48 hours)
posted by crewshell at 10:04 AM on July 14, 2006

throwing it on the pile: callen lorde clinic
posted by milarepa at 10:20 AM on July 14, 2006

you could also call your doctor and explain that you have an emergency and need to be seen immediately.
posted by lester at 10:26 AM on July 14, 2006

anonymous posted "but in the name of creating a valuable reference thread I'd be interested to see information aimed at less specific contexts as well"

In Canada if you don't have a family doctor or they can't see you right away you'd wander down to the nearest walk-in, wait 5-300 minutes, see a doctor, and walk out with your script. I'm not sure what would happen if you needed a injection, the only injections I've received have been vaccine at the health unit, but I'm sure they'd tell you.

This would apply even if you are not covered by a provincal health plan. In that case you would just need to pay to see the doctor. Non insured rates tend to be cheaper here than in the US.
posted by Mitheral at 10:39 AM on July 14, 2006

It's a fairly good idea to go get tested for a variety of things, as you note. Even if your diagnosis is correct, it may not be the only thing you got exposed to.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:09 AM on July 14, 2006

In the UK, your local GUM clinic will be listed in the 'phone book, or you can search by postcode or town on this site, or call the Sexual Health Helpline for free on 0800 567 123.

You can walk-in at some (most?) clinics, but making an appointment is a better bet. If it's your first visit, allow about two hours - you'll get tested for everything, will need to give blood and urine samples, and have a pretty detailed chat with the doctor about your sexual history. Some of the results you'll get there and then, some later at a follow-up appointment or by post. If you do have an STI the clinic can inform previous partners on your behalf. Everything is completely confidential - your GP will not be informed.

It's all free, obviously.
posted by jack_mo at 11:31 AM on July 14, 2006

"Planned Parenthood is also not just for women..."

This may be the case with some branches, but I (male) have called my local PP before to inquire about testing and they told me to take a hike.
posted by falconred at 5:23 PM on July 14, 2006

There's always the faint chance it's non-gonorrheal urethritis. It doesn't really make much difference, but that might cheer you up.
If you can get into an STD clinic, it's the way to go. Cheap or free, they'll listen sympathetically, nod politely, and then test you for everything known to man, which is the right thing to do. While you're there, ask about Hep A-B shots, they're free in our area at the clinic and expensive if you have to pay for them.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 1:46 PM on July 15, 2006

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