Safe sex is having sexual contact while protecting yourself and your sexual partner against sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy. Sexual contact that doesn’t involve the exchange of semen, vaginal fluids or blood between partners is considered to be safe sex.Unsafe sex may put you or your partner at risk of STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, Mycoplasma genitalium, HIV or hepatitis B, or may result in an unplanned pregnancy.
What to do if you have unsafe sex
If you have had unsafe sex:
- avoid vaginal or rectal ‘douching’ (washing out or irrigating these areas with water or other fluids) as the irritation to delicate tissues could increase the risk of infection
- make sure you are not at risk of pregnancy. Consider taking the emergency contraceptive pill (within 72 hours is best, but it can be taken with 120 hours of unprotected sex or a broken condom if no other form of contraception was used)
- see your GP promptly to be tested for STIs
- consider post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV, if you are a man who has had unprotected anal intercourse with another man. Call the PEP line to assess whether you require post-exposure prophylaxis.
Many STDs are curable and all are treatable.
- Use LATEX condoms
- No sharing towels or underclothing
- Wash before and after intercourse
- Get a vaccination for hepatitis B
- Get tested for HIV
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