How do I prevent gonorrhea?

Updated on:
July 12, 2021

How do I prevent myself from contracting gonorrhea?

In order to prevent gonorrhea, using condoms (or dental dams) when having sex is a reliable strategy. With both condoms and dental dams, it’s important that:

  • The expiration date hasn't passed. 
  • There are no tears or breakage before use. Wear a new condom if any are detected.
  • Water-based or silicone lubricant is used. This can help prevent breakage and make sex feel better.
  • Don't use oil-based lubricants (i.e. petroleum jelly, baby oil, coconut oil) as they can cause tears or breaks on the condom.

Another method that can help prevent HIV and STIs is to ensure you’re not getting in contact with any fluids carrying infections:

  • Thoroughly clean sex toys before and after each use.
  • Wash your body before and after sexual activity
  • Avoid sharing towels and clothing that have come into contact with bodily fluids.

It’s also essential to have open conversations about your STI and testing history. If you or somebody you know has not yet been treated or suspect they have gonorrhea, refrain from sexual activity with them until their healthcare provider recommends it’s ok to do so.

How do I prevent myself from transmitting gonorrhea?

In case you have been diagnosed with gonorrhea or had sexual contact with someone that had it, get tested and get treated with antibiotics. Ensure you take the complete treatment of antibiotics and abstain from sexual activity until recommended by a healthcare professional.

Getting regular STI tests is an essential foundation of sexual wellness and the only confirmed way to detect STIs is to allow for early treatment and prevent further transmissions. 

Can you prevent gonorrhea 100% of the time?

Washing genitals and thoroughly cleaning sex toys before/after sex, along with using condoms and dental dams, are effective ways to protect your sexual health and decrease your risk of sexually transmitted infections. However, they are not 100% effective.

Condoms can break or slip off during sexual activity. That’s why it's essential to get tested regularly and have open conversations with your sexual partners about their sexual health and testing practices.

Gonorrhea and HIV

Gonorrhea can increase someone's risk of HIV transmission and acquisition.

Someone with a gonorrhea infection is more likely to contract HIV if they are exposed to HIV during sex since the infection may facilitate the entrance of HIV.

Gonorrhea infection can increase the amount of HIV carried in bodily fluids of HIV-positive individuals, which increases the chances of transmitting HIV to their sexual partner(s).

Reviewed by:
Dr. Caley Shukalek

Caley is passionate about evidence-based, patient-centred care, including telemedicine that can provide high quality care from wherever a patient may choose.

He helped create Alberta's PrEP guidelines and works as a specialist in General Internal Medicine with additional training in sexual health, including HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

He holds an Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, an MD from the University of Calgary and an MSc from the University of Alberta.