We studied the incidence of gonorrhea, gonococcal recidivism and related factors in venereal disease clinic patients. A sample of 2029 records, which were selected randomly, were reviewed. Gonorrhea and gonococcal recidivism were more common in nonwhite patients, particularly in nonwhite men. Gonorrhea occurred more than once in 23% of the patients with gonorrhea and those patients accounted for 48% of all cases of gonorrhea. We also interviewed 627 new patients attending the venereal disease clinic. Gonococcal recidivism was reported more often by older men and younger women. Use of contraceptives was less frequent among white women who were gonococcal recidivists. However, contraception was not used by 40% of the patients or their partners. Gonococcal isolation rates were lowest in men who used condoms. The number of sexual partners did not correlate with age, use of contraceptives or results of cultures for gonococci. Men had more sexual partners than women and white women had more partners than non-white women. Nine percent of patients took oral antibiotics prior to their visit to the clinic; antibiotic ingestion did not correlate with the patients' race or the results of their cultures.