I had unprotected sex, what should I do?

Steps to prevent unwanted pregnancy or STIs

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, and sometimes the best intentions can get forgotten amidst the intimacy and heat of a sexual encounter. If you have unprotected sex, don’t panic. There are steps you can take to make sure an unwanted pregnancy or STI doesn’t occur.

What to do next

You can make an appointment, or attend drop-in sessions at your local sexual health clinic where the nurse can assess your situation to advise the best course of action for you to take. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you’re still at risk of having an STI. Many people don’t know they have one as infections like chlamydia don’t always cause symptoms. Indeed 70% of infected women experience no symptoms at all.

Getting tested will put your mind at ease, and if an STI is detected, then an early diagnosis is the key to getting it treated before it leads to any long term effects.

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What are the symptoms of an STI?

While some STIs may not show any symptoms, there are signs to watch out for. If you have pain during urination, an itching or burning sensation in the genital area or any sores, lumps or blisters then this is an indication of an STI. Women may experience lower abdominal pain, an unusual or smelly discharge, bleeding between periods and pain during sex. For men, key symptoms include a discharge from the penis, an irritated urethra and pain or swelling in the testicles. If you experience any of these symptoms, then it’s essential to get a check-up to get adequate treatment and avoid passing on an infection to your partner.

 

Do I need emergency contraception?

If you are not using any long term contraceptive-methods such as the pill, implant or coil or you experienced problems during sex such as a condom breaking, then you may be at risk of an unplanned pregnancy. The morning-after pill is available in such circumstances. You must take it as soon as possible as it’s most effective the day after having unprotected sex. You can get it directly from a pharmacy or order it from Dr Felix. It’s also available from sexual health clinics and your GP.

 

Am I at risk of having an STI?

You may be at risk of having an STI if you have had a sexual encounter with either a partner of the opposite sex or a same-sex partner. Unprotected sex includes oral and anal sex and the genitals rubbing against each other.
 

How can I protect myself for next time?

Being prepared for a possible sexual encounter gives you the best chance at protecting yourself from the potential worry or risk of getting an STI or having an unplanned pregnancy. Condoms are the only way to prevent STIs. You can get them for free from sexual health clinics, or they are readily available in pharmacies, shops and some vending machines. Stocking up and keeping them within close reach makes them accessible when you need one.

A safe time to stop using condoms with your partner is after you have both been tested and have confirmation that you are free from STIs. If you do not want to have a baby, then choosing a method of contraception that’s suitable such as the pill, IUD, or implant is necessary to prevent pregnancy.

 

Sources

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/

https://www.sexualhealthscotland.co.uk/

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