I had unprotected sex once. What now?

If you’ve been reading my articles for a while not or visited my website our site for a while now, Choma, you may know how much I stress the importance of always using a condom during sex –  as well as the dangers involved with having unprotected sex. But we all know that mistakes happen. So, if you’ve had unprotected sex, what should you do? Here’s a bit of advice Choma.

Take the Morning After Pill

If you take it within 24 hours of having unprotected sex, the Morning After Pill will help you to avoid unwanted pregnancy. The Morning After pill can be taken up to four days after intercourse, however it is much less effective after the first 24 hours. It’s important to speak to your healthcare practitioner about taking the morning after pill. It’s not a long-term contraceptive and is supposed to be used only as an emergency. You might need to go on the Pill or another form of contraceptives if you need something more long term. Your healthcare practitioner should be able to help you make the right choice for yourself.

Morning After Pills such as EGenC or Norlevo can be purchased from the pharmacy for around R60 – R100.

If you are worried you may have gotten pregnant or are experiencing pregnancy symptoms, be sure to take a pregnancy test, and contact your doctor if you have any further concerns. 

Get tested for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

If you’ve had unprotected sex, it’s vital that you get tested for HIV and other STIs you may have been exposed to. Even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms, you still may have contracted an STI – so it’s better to be sure.

HIV tests are offered at public clinics, or you can buy one from the pharmacy for around R70. For an STI test, speak to your doctor or visit your local clinic. 

Learn from your mistake

If everything is in the clear, then consider yourself lucky and learn to be better prepared for next time. If you plan on being sexually active, make sure you have condoms available. Learn how to properly use male and female condoms, and look into other forms of contraceptives such as the Pill to make sure you’re preventing unwanted pregnancy.

If you have a partner, be sure you’re on the same page with them about the importance of having safe sex and using condoms. For more tips on how to have that conversation, check out this article.

We all make mistakes, and there’s no reason to panic or beat yourself up about it if you’ve found yourself in this situation. But take this as an important lesson, Choma. Unprotected sex is a gamble and can impact you for the rest of your life. Remember to always use a condom and practice safe sex, every time.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).