How is gonorrhea diagnosed?

Updated: Jun 15, 2021
  • Author: Shahab Qureshi, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Culture is the most common diagnostic test for gonorrhea, followed by the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) probe and then the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and ligand chain reaction (LCR). The DNA probe is an antigen detection test that uses a probe to detect gonorrhea DNA in specimens.

Specific culture of a swab from the site of infection is the gold standard for diagnosis at all potential sites of gonococcal infection. Cultures are particularly useful when the clinical diagnosis is unclear, when a failure of treatment has occurred, when contact tracing is problematic, and when legal questions arise.

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