India has been struggling with an identity crisis for a few decades now – straddling a traditional upbringing and a modern lifestyle. Studies show that 61% of our urban youth approve of pre-marital sex and yet 63% want to marry virgins – statistics that clearly betray our hypocrisy. A surprisingly large number of unmarried women in urban India are now sexually active and while we would not judge the choices you make, you should know that having unprotected sex is a big no-no. But we are human and make mistakes, so if you ever forget to use a condom, here’s what you need to do.
You’ve Just Had Unprotected Sex, What Now?
If you’ve had unprotected sex, especially if it’s a casual hookup, you’re probably starting to panic and running all the worst case scenarios through your mind. The first thing you need to do is calm down and channel your energy towards all the things you can and should do now.
To Do ASAP
“80% of the women who get UTIs have had sex in the past 24 hours”
You are going to have to deal with issues like pregnancy and STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), but that can wait for a little while… the first thing you should do now is pee, as this will reduce your risk of a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). It is estimated that 80% of the women who get UTIs have had sex in the past 24 hours. Sex can send bacteria further along the urethra, and peeing after sex will help to sweep this bacteria out and therefore prevent a UTI.
Take An Emergency Contraceptive Pill
“An emergency contraceptive pill within the first 24 hours will reduce your risk of pregnancy by up to 95%”
An emergency contraceptive pill can be taken anytime within the first 72 hours of unprotected sex however, it is best to take it as soon as possible. This is because emergency contraceptive pills are 88 percent effective in preventing pregnancy if you take them within 72 hours, but if you take them within the first 24 hours of unprotected sex, their effectiveness rises to a whopping 95%!
Take PEP To Reduce Your Risk Of Getting HIV
“Anti-retroviral medication can reduce your risk of contracting HIV after you’ve had unprotected sex”
There are HIV prevention drugs that can reduce your risk of contracting HIV after you’ve been exposed to the virus. Although it is not highly publicized, these HIV antiretroviral drugs are now available in India. The first dose of these medications should be taken as soon as possible after the suspected exposure and within the first 72 hours and the entire course generally lasts a month. These are prescription drugs so you will have to approach your doctor right away – your doctor will evaluate the risk level of your exposure and advise you accordingly.
Get A Hepatitis B Vaccine
“Get the Hepatitis B vaccine and/or HBIG (Hepatitis B immune globulin) shot within 24 hours as this could prevent hepatitis B infection”
Hepatitis B is easily transmitted through sex as the virus is present in blood, semen, and other body fluids of an infected person. Having unprotected sex increases your risk of a Hep B infection, especially if you have multiple partners. The hepatitis vaccine is now offered as part of routine vaccinations for infants and children as well as adults. It is recommended that you get the Hepatitis B vaccine and/or HBIG (Hepatitis B immune globulin) shot within 24 hours as this could prevent hepatitis B infection.
Talk To Your Ob/ Gyn About Emergency STD Treatment
“A course of antibiotics can help to prevent STIs including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis”
There are over 20 types of STIs and condoms will reduce the risks of all of them as long as they are used correctly. Unfortunately, there is no single drug that can be used to treat or prevent all of these infections; however, antibiotics such as ceftriaxone, metronidazole, and doxycycline can be prescribed to reduce the risk and even prevent STIs. If you had unprotected sex with a high-risk partner, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotics course for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
In 2 Weeks
Take a pregnancy test
Pregnancy home test kits are a simple and discreet way to make sure that you’re not pregnant. These urine tests indicate the presence or absence of the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), in your urine. Home pregnancy tests are very accurate, but it is possible to get a false negative – where you are actually pregnant, but the test shows negative, especially if you take the test too early. If your period is delayed, repeat the test once again and talk to your gynec, if necessary.
After 6 Months
Take an HIV & HPV Test
“97% of all people infected with HIV develop antibodies within 3 months and so an HIV test at the 3-month mark has a high accuracy level”
You cannot take HIV and HPV tests right away – this is because these tests check for the antibodies your body produces if you’ve been infected with these viruses. Your immune system will take a while to create enough antibodies for a definite diagnosis, which is why you should go for HIV and HPV tests 6 months after you’ve had unprotected sex. Alternatively, you can opt for an HIV test at the 3 month mark as 97% of people infected with HIV develop antibodies within this period.
As you can see there are several things that you can and should do if you’ve had unprotected sex. Don’t feel awkward to discuss the details of your sexual encounter with your gynac – Orogenital infections are infections that spread through oral-genital contact and so your doctor might also conduct an oral examination. A lot of women think that douching will help to flush out the pathogens, but studies show that it can have quite the opposite effect! Do not use a douche unless your doctor recommends it. Get informed, stay safe!
August 1, 2018