I had unprotected sex. Are there any STD meds I should take?
Q: I had unprotected sex and don't know what to do. Apart from the morning-after pill, is there any other way to stop an unwanted pregnancy? Or any medication that will lessen the chance of contracting STDs?
A: Many people have had sexual contact without taking the time to understand the different risks involved in certain sexual acts or contact and think of the risks of sexually transmitted diseases or possibility of pregnancy after the incident.
Within 72 hours, take the emergency contraceptive pill. The sooner you take it, the better. It works by preventing ovulation. If you vomit within the hour of taking the pill, you must repeat the dose.
Once implantation has occurred, emergency contraception is no longer effective.
Within five days, an intra uterine device (IUD) such as a copper-T is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It is especially recommended for women who are too late for the emergency pill or those who are overweight. An IUD is a really good option because once it's inserted, it can remain in the uterus for between five and 10 years, depending on the type.
Whether you've noticed symptoms or not, you should get advice on the different incubation periods for bacterial, viral diseases. Even if it was unprotected sex with your regular partner you may be uncertain of their sexually transmitted infection (STI) exposure from previous times, so it may be best to get a consultation to determine what you require.
Whichever type of contraception you decide to use, remember to use condoms to reduce chances of acquiring STIs.
Post-exposure prophylaxis anti-retroviral medication remains gold standard for HIV infection. Bacterial infections and viral infections are managed differently and one needs to consult prior to starting treatment.
The need for timeous action and access to medications is key.
• Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, DISA Clinic, 011-886-2286, visit safersex.co.za
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