Gonorrhea is a mandatory reporting infection of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. It is an STD (STI) that can lead to serious complications if undetected or left untreated. A gonorrhea infection of the throat or anus is generally asymptomatic.
The screening technique (PCR or NAAT) detects the bacteria’s DNA or RNA (genetic material) after amplification. Results are generally positive 7 days after infection. Depending on the risk factors, gonorrhea testing can be done on a urine, genital, urethral, throat or anal sample. A warning on the report indicates that the technique used was not approved by Health Canada for throat or anal specimens. However, these tests are done at the Laboratoire de Santé publique du Québec (LSPQ) and are very reliable.
A positive (reactive) result indicates the presence of active gonorrhea. A negative (non-reactive) result indicates the probable absence of infection at the time of sample collection. Some samples produce results that are more difficult to interpret. These results are identified as “ambiguous,” “inhibition,” “uninterpretable” or “indeterminate.” The test must then be repeated on a new sample.