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How Do I Prevent Gonorrhea?

Condoms are one of the most effective methods of preventing gonorrhea. There are, however, other methods you can use reduce your risk of getting this sexually transmitted infection (STI).

How Gonorrhea Spreads

You can get gonorrhea from vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It gets transmitted when the vaginal fluid, semen, or mucous membrane secretions of an infected individual come in contact with the mucous membranes lining your mouth or genitals.

Gonorrhea and Condoms

Condoms are your best option for reducing the likelihood of getting an STI from sex, though they do not provide 100% protection against gonorrhea.

Use a latex condom when having vaginal or anal sex to reduce your risk of transmission. During oral sex, barrier methods such as dental dams can help prevent gonorrhea’s spread. If you don’t have a dental dam, you can cut a latex condom and open it flat to cover potentially infected areas during mouth-to-vulva/vagina and mouth-to-anus contact.

Gonorrhea can spread even without sexual penetration, so it’s best to put the condom on before engaging in sexual contact and to keep it on throughout all sexual activity.

Other Ways to Prevent Gonorrhea

Other methods you can use to reduce your risk of infection include:

  • Having fewer sex partners. The more sex partners you have, the higher your risk of getting an STI.
  • Getting tested. Get tested for STIs, and ask that your partners get tested, as well. Discuss your test results and what steps you’ll take to prevent gonorrhea and other infections.
  • Not douching. Douching can affect the vagina’s normal beneficial bacteria levels and potentially increase your risk of getting an STI.

Keep in mind that washing exposed areas, urinating, or douching after sex will not prevent gonorrhea infections.

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