HEALTH: Protective measures to take if you had unprotected sex

Unprotected sex is engaging in sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral) without a condom, especially with a partner one is just meeting for the first time and whom one does not know anything about their sexual lifestyle and history prior to that point. A situation where the condom tears during intercourse with such one-night-stand partner is also an unprotected sex.

The danger of having unprotected sex is majorly the very high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV; secondly, there’s the risk of unwanted pregnancy for women in addition to contracting an STD. Doctors advice; whenever you engage in an unprotected sexual intercourse, don’t hesitate to take the following steps to make sure nothing goes wrong with you health wise:

1. Seek an Emergency Contraception.

For women, unprotected sex comes in the form of sex without a condom, which can happen in a one-night-stand setting or a rape situation; or the condom tearing during intercourse. Once any of these happens, efforts should be made to rush to a good hospital (a specialist gynaecology clinic is highly recommended) or a good pharmacy nearby to get an emergency contraception.

An emergency contraception is a form birth control method taken after an unprotected sex that prevents the woman from getting pregnant. For it to be effective, it must be taken within 5 days after the unprotected sexual intercourse. Some examples of emergency contraception include Postinor which is most effective when taken within a day after the unprotected sex; its effectiveness at preventing pregnancy declines rapidly if you delay taking it to any time beyond 2 days after the unprotected intercourse. Postinor may have side effects in some women and these include very scanty or very heavy menstrual bleeding, dizziness, lower abdominal pain, and vomiting.

However, postinor may not work in women who are overweight or obese. In this case, a specialist gynaecology clinic is the best place to go where an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) will be inserted into the woman. IUCD is close to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy if inserted within 5 days after the unprotected sexual intercourse.

2. Go for HIV screening and tests for other sexual transmitted infections (STIs).

Both men and women should go for HIV screening and tests for other STIs as soon as possible after having an unprotected one-night-stand sex. For HIV test, a screening test is done after which one is required to come back in 3 months’ time for another screening. If there’s a very high suspicion that the partner could be HIV-positive, the doctor may advise you start the highly active antiretroviral therapy regimen (HAART) as a post-exposure preventive treatment and come back in 3 months for HIV test.

Also, both the man and woman should watch out for any symptoms like unusual discharge from their private part and quickly go for a test for STIs in order to start treatment for them immediately.

Opeyemi Odunayo
Kangpe Healthcare

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