One hundred and three known sexual-contact pairs of patients with culture-proven gonorrhoea who attended St Mary's Hospital, London between May 1989 and February 1991 were identified. All isolates from these patients were serotyped and auxotyped and compared for type concordance within sexual-contact pairs. Serotype was concordant in 80 (78%) of 103 sexual-contact pairs, auxotype in 88 (85%) and auxotype/serovar (A/S) class in 66 (64%) on the first screening. All pairs of isolates showed concordance in both serotype and auxotype when typing was repeated using a single set of serotyping reagents and of auxotyping media. Seventeen serovars, 9 auxotypes and 36 A/S classes were found in this population. Our results suggest that both serotyping and auxotyping may be used as markers to allow tracing of sexual-contact pairs, but that a single set of reagents should be used to ensure maximum reliability.