Until the AIDS epidemic that occurred in the United States of America in the early 80s through the 90s, many people had a very lax view on the use of condoms.
While the use of condoms may have been popular prior to that period in some countries and institutions such as the military (German military promoted the use of condoms among its soldiers from the middle of the 1880s), many people in the rest of the world took the effects of sexually transmitted diseases with a grain of salt.
Diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea which are treated with antibiotics were seen as commonplace. All these changed when HIV came into being.
Safe sex is defined as any sexual activity that does not involve the exchange of body fluids from the vagina, anus, penis or mouth.
It is the use of barricades to prevent the exchange of these fluids in order to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted. This is the direct opposite of unprotected sex which in popular terms is known as going “Bareback”.
However, it is worthy to note that sex is never 100% safe. There are many ways in which fluids can still be exchanged during sexual intercourse.
Sex is a healthy and pleasurable thing for you and your partner or partners. Making logical and healthy decisions about your sex is important as the consequences could be dire.
Unprotected sex is a high risk activity which you are advised with partake someone you trust, who knows their sexual status and who has given their consent.
Risks and Effects of Unprotected Sex
1. Unwanted Pregnancy
Studies have shown that sexual intercourse without the use of protection whether by choice or coercion has been the major cause unwanted pregnancies.
The global rate of unwanted pregnancy was estimated at 44% of all pregnancies between 2010 and 2014, corresponding to approximately 62 unintended pregnancies per 1000 women between the ages of 15-44 years old.
While cases of unwanted pregnancy has been slowly reducing in most areas of the world, different geographic regions have different estimated unwanted pregnancy rates.
Rates tend to be higher in third world countries such as those in Latin America and Africa, estimated at 96 and 89 unwanted pregnancies per 1000 women, respectively, and lower in first world countries such as North American and Europe, estimated at 47 and 41 unintended pregnancies per 1000 women, respectively.
Also, teenage pregnancies are a worldwide phenomenon that is a cause for public safety concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 16 million girls aged between 15 and 19 years and about one million girls younger than 15 years give birth every year.
Teen pregnancies can result in haemorrhage (hard to control bleeding), damaged cervix, preterm birth, and/or infertility. Majority of these teenage pregnancies occur in low income countries of the world characters by poor health services and high maternal death rates.
2. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
There are over three hundred sexually transmitted diseases known to man. Some such as gonorrhea, syphilis and anal warts are treatable with drugs and sometimes in combination with surgery, while others such as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) are incurable and occur for life.
Some of these diseases are symptomatic (they show symptoms) while others are asymptomatic (occurring without symptoms).
The most common type of sexually transmitted diseases include genital herpes, Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV), Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV and Syphilis. Genital herpes is a viral infection that causes sores and pain in the genital area. HPV is an infection that causes warts in several areas of the body especially in the anus. It is usually a sign that the person has HIV.
HIV causes AIDS which interrupts the body’s ability to fight against disease. It leads to the slow decline of a person’s health and their eventual death.
Syphillis is a bacterial infection that spreads through sexual contact and starts painless sore. Gonorrhea, another bacterial infection, can cause infertility if left untreated. The genitals are not the only place one can contract STDs.
Another common area is the mouth. Diseases such as cold sores, herpes and mouth gonorrhea are very common and these occur as a result of unprotected oral sex.
3. Emotional Effects
Stealthing occurs when one partner usually the penetrative partner- takes off the condom without the other partner’s knowledge or consent. Stealthing is considered to be rape as consent was not given.
The person who has been stealthed will feel violoted. Also, since having unprotected sex with your partner involves a certain level of trust, depression can make you feel bad about yourself if that person cheats on you or leaves you.
What to do when you’ve had Unprotected Sex
1. Use the bathroom
Peeing as soon as you have had sex helps flush any bacteria that you might have been exposed to during sexual intercourse.
Drinking lots of water also helps. Bacteria that gets into your urethra (where urine comes out) can cause an infection which makes it painful to urinate. Unprotected sex increases one’s chances of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) especially in women.
2. Use an emergency pill
There are many contraceptive pills available in the market. The emergency contraceptive pill has been known to work 72 hours after sex so, you are advised to take it within this time frame. They can be obtained from any pharmacy or dispensary near you.
Also, in case of traumatic situations such as rape, you are advised to go immediately to the doctor for PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) which prevents one from being infected with HIV
3. Get Tested
Whether you think you have STDs or not, you are advised to visit doctor two weeks after having unprotected sexual intercourse especially if it is with someone new. Tests for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy will be conducted.
Remember, no sexual intercourse is 100% safe. But it is necessary to do what you can to protect yourself. Regular screening for sexually transmitted is important if you are sexually active. Unprotected sex should be engaged in with someone you trust and with consent.