Unsafe sex

If you have had unsafe sex, you may have placed yourself at risk of an STI, HIV or it may lead to an unwanted pregnancy.
If you think you may have exposed yourself to HIV or another STI, then it is advisable to get tested. Many STIs can be effectively treated and managed. Left untreated many STIs can get worse and cause long term health problems.
If you think you have recently been exposed to HIV, within the last 72 hours, then you may want to consider taking PEP. PEP is a four week course of drugs that may prevent HIV infection. It is only offered when there has been a high risk of exposure to HIV.
If you are worried about an unintended pregnancy then you may want to act fast, within 72 hours, to take emergency contraception.
It is also important that you examine why you had unsafe sex and develop strategies so you don't place yourself or partner at risk again. Talk to friends and family as they may be able to offer support and advice. Also consider talking to a health care professional such as a doctor, nurse, counsellor or sexual health worker. Choose an option that best suits you.

Post exposure prophylaxis

Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a four week course of two anti-HIV (known as antiretroviral) drugs which may prevent HIV infection if you have been exposed to the virus.
If you believe you have been exposed to HIV, you must act quickly. To be effective PEP must be commenced as soon as possible after an exposure. PEP is unlikely to work if you commence it more than 72 hours (three days) after exposure to HIV.

What does 'exposure' to HIV mean?

Any action that allows HIV infected body fluids, such as blood or semen, to enter into your bloodstream means you may have been exposed to HIV. You may have been exposed to HIV if you:
  • have vaginal sex without a condom with a person who has HIV;
  • have anal sex without a condom with a person who has HIV; and
  • shared injecting equipment with a person who has HIV.
Current as at: Thursday 7 March 2013
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health