Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea has progressively developed resistance to the antibiotic drugs prescribed to treat it. Following the spread of gonococcal fluoroquinolone resistance, the cephalosporin antibiotics have been the foundation of recommended treatment for gonorrhea. The emergence of cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea would significantly complicate the ability of providers to treat gonorrhea successfully, since we have few antibiotic options left that are simple, well-studied, well-tolerated and highly effective. It is critical to continuously monitor resistance and encourage research and development of new treatment regimens.

Suspected Gonorrhea Treatment Failure Consultation Form

Healthcare providers and health departments can report suspected gonorrhea cephalosporin treatment failure or any N. gonorrhoeae specimen with decreased cephalosporin susceptibility through the Suspected Gonorrhea Treatment Failure Consultation Form.

For questions about reporting a suspected treatment failure or resistant case, please email: GCFAILURE@cdc.gov

Gradient Strip Testing

Through CDC’s AR Lab Network, the Maryland and Washington State Public Health Labs offer nationwide gradient strip method antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST)—at no cost—to assist in care of patients with potentially drug-resistant gonorrhea infections. Details in this fact sheet.


Lessons Learned from CDC’s Strengthening US Response to Resistant Gonorrhea – This special supplement of Sexually Transmitted Diseases shares findings and lessons learned from the SURRG project, adding to the published data on public health approaches to address resistant gonorrhea. (December 2021)

2021 STI Treatment Guidelines – Gonococcal Infections – Expands on treatment recommendations updated in December 2020. (July 22, 2021)

2019 AR Threats in the United States and Drug-resistant N. gonorrhoeae pathogen page (November 13, 2019)

Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project (GISP) Profiles – Provides site-specific data for CDC’s surveillance system that monitors U.S. resistance trends for gonorrhea in select STD clinics.

AR Investment Map – This interactive tool shows CDC’s key investments to combat resistance, including drug-resistant gonorrhea, across the nation.

Success Stories
AR Isolate Bank
The CDC & FDA Antimicrobial Resistance Isolate Bank’s resources help drive innovative research focused on halting gonorrhea’s growing resistance to drug treatment.
Success Story
CDC’s SURRG program combats resistant gonorrhea with highly-focused, collaborative partnerships.
STI Prevention Success Stories