Unprotected sex can happen even with the best intentions. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do after unprotected sex, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster. There are many ways you can protect yourself against unintended pregnancy, HIV or sexually transmitted infections. But you need to act fast!
Step 1: Take the morning after pill to prevent a pregnancy
You can get emergency contraception for free at a clinic or buy them over-the-counter at any pharmacy. These will prevent a pregnancy before it happens by blocking a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterine wall. The pill must be taken within five days. Worried what the doctor or pharmacist may think? Go to a pharmacy further away, or send an older friend (or your guy) to get the emergency contraception. The sooner you take them after the unprotected sex, the more effective.
Step 2: Find out his HIV status
Awkward? Well you just shared body fluid so this is important! If they don’t know their status, they can get a test at a clinic and get the results in minutes. If they won’t take a test - assume they are positive. If you are too scared to ask - assume they are positive. In fact it is always best to go into any sexual situation assuming they may be HIV positive (or has any other STI). Then you can be more firm in protecting yourself with male or female condoms.
Step 3: Stop the HIV
If your partner is HIV+ (or doesn’t know their status) you can take tablets that will protect you from getting HIV if you have had unprotected sex. They are called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and they need to be taken within 72 hours. You can get these from your clinic doctor.
Step 4: Watch out for itches
Keep an eye out for any itches, discharges of smells in your private parts. If you notice anything get it treated at the clinic.
Step 5: Don’t let it happen again
Accidents do happen… but the stress makes the cost too high! Practice saying no until you are clear you mean it with confidence. Make sure you have a stock of condoms or female condoms so you never have to go through that again!
Don’t pretend nothing happened – the sooner you take action, the more easily you can avoid or treat any unwanted complications of unprotected sex.