Whether you chose not to use a condom or if the condom burst midway during sex, your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD), HIV or falling pregnant is high. This is a cause of much stress for both teens and adults alike and if you want to avoid this experience then always use a condom and remember that two condoms are better than one.
Instead of regretting your actions the next day, take a hold of the situation and decide on the next step forward. The general approach is that you test, take emergency steps to prevent infection or pregnancy and then test again.
HIV & Pregnancy Prevention
If your partner is HIV positive, you can ask your doctor about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Here antiretrovirals will be given to you at an early stage to reduce the risk of HIV infection setting in.This is not a guarantee that you will avoid HIV infection but clinical trials have shown promising results that the chances of becoming positive is greatly reduced. Government clinics do not provide PEP drugs except in cases of rape. You will need to see a private doctor and pay for these drugs yourself.
In terms of pregnancy, your first option would be an emergency contraceptive like the morning after pill. You can speak to your doctor about it or go directly to your pharmacy and purchase it. Remember that the morning after pill has a host of side effects so prepare yourself for it. Once again this is not a a guarantee that the pregnancy will not progress further and you may have to consider an abortion at a later stage.
HIV and Pregnancy Tests
For HIV infection, there is a ‘window period’ which lasts about 4 to 6 weeks after being infected. During this time there is no trace of antibodies in your bloodstream so most HIV tests will give you a negative reading. Nevertheless you should test immediately after having unprotected sex. You should then test again in 6 weeks and repeat it one last time about 3 months after the incident. Some people experience a longer window period so the 6 week test may not be an accurate result as well.
There are new tests that are available which are sensitive enough to detect infection within the first 2 weeks of infection. This test is known as the PCR test and you will have to speak to a private doctor about it.
You need to conduct a pregnancy test even if you have taken the morning after pill. Remember that if you are using a home pregnancy test then you may only get a result a week after the incident. If you miscarry, the pregnancy test may still give a positive readings. This is why a blood test is so important. The first type of blood test, known as the qualitative beta-HCG test, will be able to confirm pregnancy a few days after unprotected sex. The second type, known as the quantitative test, will be able to estimate how far along you are and successive tests will allow your doctor to detect if you have miscarried.
While these mishaps do happen and may go by without any consequences, the chances of falling pregnant or contracting HIV from unprotected sex or when a condom bursts is a reality. Prevention is always better than cure and if you are going to engage in sex, always use a condom. Remember that two condoms are better than one and can save you from death.