If I got the Gardasil shot when I was younger, could I still get gonorrhea?

Yep! Gardasil is the vaccine that prevents the most common forms of HPV (the Human Papillomavirus). HPV is a viral STI that spreads through skin to skin contact. It can cause abnormal cell growth, including genital warts and some kinds of cancer.  While it’s awesome that you got this vaccine, know that you’re not protected against all sexually transmitted infections—just the most common strains of HPV!

Gonorrhea is a bacterial STI spread through sexual fluids. There is always a risk of gonorrhea if you choose to be sexually active, but your highest risk is through unprotected vaginal intercourse. Teen Clinic recommends using condoms 100%, and getting tested after any new partners. You can get checked for genital gonorrhea on a walk-in basis at Teen Clinic; all you have to do is leave a urine sample.  It’s important to know that gonorrhea can also be spread from the sexual fluids into the throat; be sure to use condoms during oral sex, and see a medical professional if you are ever experiencing strep-like symptoms.

Learn more about specific sexually transmitted infections here.