During the heat of sexual ecstasy, things can really go fast from foreplay to sex and partners may not even remember to use condoms. Unprotected sex is sexual intercourse without the use of a barrier method of contraception. This can be either the male or the female condom. Unprotected sexual intercourse increases the risk of contacting/ transmitting HIV, STD and unwanted pregnancy. I have seen a lot of people overwhelmed with anxiety after having unprotected sexual intercourse with some indulging in acts that does not only sound ridiculous but also increases their chance of contacting STD or even affecting their health adversely. Douching is one of such. Generally, women are discouraged from douching because it alters the normal bacteria flora of the vagina which keeps it healthy and free from invading pathogens. If you douche after sex, it increases the chance of contacting STD and it doesn’t prevent pregnancy and HIV infection. Myths like ingestion of herbal medicines, insertion of caustic soda, ingesting OTCs like ampicillin and aspirin have not been proven scientifically to be effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies and infection with STD. In this article, we will review on things you must do if you have unprotected sex.
1. Take Emergency contraceptive pills
This is one of the surest ways of preventing unwanted pregnancy after having unprotected sexual intercourse. You will have to take emergency contraceptives in form of emergency contraceptives pills. Emergency contraceptive pills also referred to as morning after pills are is used to prevent pregnancy. There can be obtained with a doctor’s prescription or as an over the counter drug (OTC) in drug stores. A commonly used form of EC is Postinor 2® which is taken within 72 hours after having unprotected sexual intercourse. It contains Levonorgestrel which is a synthetic form of a female reproductive hormone that prevents implantation hence pregnancy doesn’t occur.
2. Ask for an Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)
If after 72 hours, then you must contact your health care provider for an emergency IUD. IUD is tiny rod-like devices inserted into the uterus (womb) by your doctor. There distort cervical mucus and prevents the implantation of the egg. If inserted properly and within 5 days, it is highly effective with an efficacy rate of about 98%. It is important to note that EC and IUD don’t give any protection nor prevent STD and HIV infection.
3. Test for STD and HIV
Fears of infection with STD or the dreaded killer disease HIV is heightened after unprotected sexual intercourse. It is mandatory that you test to screen for STD and HIV. If possible, such test should be conducted with your sexual partner. STD to be tested for includes Hepatitis B and C, gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia. This can be carried out with blood samples or via a vaginal/ penile swab. However, results gotten from an early test are inconclusive hence test must be repeated after 6 months for cases of HIV and Hepatitis. Testing after having unprotected sexual intercourse allays fear/ anxiety and increases the chance of early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted disease.
4. Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
PEP is essential after a high risk unprotected sexual intercourse. This includes cases of rape by an unknown assailant, sexual intercourse with an individual living with HIV or unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner with known multiple sexual partners. You must visit a health facility that provides such services and after counseling and series of test, you will be commenced on PEP for a duration of one month. The drugs have been noted to be 99% effective in preventing HIV if commenced within 72 hours. PEP provides protection against HIV but not to other STD. However, you will have to do another HIV test after 6 months to be declared free from the deadly disease.
5. Keep calm and watch for symptoms
Unprotected sex may happen unexpectedly or as a result of carelessness from both partners. Once it has occurred, there is little of no need for panic. You should keep calm and watch out for symptoms after undergoing the initial screening test for STD and HIV. Symptoms make take 2 weeks or more to manifest. If after unprotected sex, you begin to experience vaginal itching, vaginal or penile discharge, severe burning pain on urinating, sores or ulcers around your external genitals then it is advisable that you consult your doctor for further evaluation and treatment.
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