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Acts you didn’t know count as unsafe sex

Sex can be fun and pleasurable but having unsafe sex comes with serious risks. It’s important to educate yourself about unsafe sex in order to protect yourself.

Safe sex is sexual contact that doesn’t involve the exchange of semen, vaginal fluids, or blood between partners during intercourse. Unsafe sex, on the other hand, means having unprotected sexual intercourse such that partners exchange vaginal fluids, blood, or semen.

In most cases, unsafe sex is considered the failure to use a condom for oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse. But, did you know there are other acts that can be considered unsafe sex?

You’re also having unsafe sex if you:

  • Do not use any type of contraception
  • Have not used a condom from the start of sex to the very end: STIs can be transmitted via pre-cum
  • Reuse a condom or use more than one condom in one sexual act when having sex
  • Use oil-based lubricant with a condom: the condom can easily break
  • Not wearing a condom correctly during sex
  • Share sex toys: it is advisable to use a different set of toys for each partner
  • Missed or forgotten to take your birth control pills
  • Had intercourse, and the condom broke or came off
  • Had skin-to-skin contact with someone infected with an STI
  • Have a high-risk partner(s) e.g. one who has multiple sex partners or one who shares injecting tools with others
  • Are having unprotected sex with a partner on HIV treatment but who hasn’t achieved U=U

What are the risks of unsafe sex?

Safe sex allows you to avoid risks such as:

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  • Unplanned and unwanted pregnancy
  • Stress due to uncertainties of the consequences of unsafe sex

What do I do if I’ve had unsafe sex?

If this occurs, there are things you may do to reduce your risks.

If you are worried about STIs

  • Take the test! Because most STIs have no symptoms, you may be unaware that you are infected.
  • Visit the nearest health facility and request an STI test. It is important to be open and honest with your healthcare provider. Anything you say will be private and confidential.
  • Early detection and treatment of STIs can help avert complications, suffering, and lasting harm, as well as prevent transmission.
  • If you believe you have been exposed to HIV, act fast. To be effective PEP must be commenced as soon as possible after an exposure

If you are worried about an unintended pregnancy:

  • There is emergency contraception available (commonly known as the morning-after pill). Ensure that you take it within 5 days after having unprotected sex. The sooner you take it after engaging in unsafe sex, the better. You can get emergency contraception from the chemist, pharmacy, and your health facility. 

Safe sex needs much thinking and planning. You should prepare both yourself and your sexual partner. Spend some time talking about your expectations and feelings around safe sex.

Keep in mind that your health and wellness are at stake, and it’s okay to say NO if your sexual partner does not want to practice safe sex.

Someone pressuring or coercing you into doing something you don’t want to do is NEVER OKAY.

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