I had unprotected sex! Could I have a STI? What should I do?
Susie replies:I had unprotected sex (mistake #1) with an older guy who I don't know at all (mistake #2), but he didn't have any sores on his penis, and we only had sex for like 25 seconds, if that. If he didn't ejaculate in me and didn't have any sores, could it still be likely that I get a STD from him? He said he doesn't have any STDs, but people lie, and I'm obviously nervous. If you have unprotected sex, how long should you wait to have a Pap smear done to get the correct results? Is four weeks long enough? Is one week too short?
MOST PEOPLE WHO HAVE STIs NEVER SHOW ANY SYMPTOMS!!!
Yes, Laura, you could have easily gotten an STD - known as STIs these days - from this guy. Even if you saw no sores. Even if he only did it with you briefly. Even if he didn't ejaculate.
Not all STIs need fluids to spread. Herpes, HPV (the virus that causes warts and cervical cancer) and syphilis are all spread by skin contact without fluids. Moreover, ejaculation doesn't have to happen for fluids to be exchanged. Pre-ejaculate can contain bacteria and viruses, too. That means you could have gotten Chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis or HIV.
You only option right now is to get tested. First, get tested for Chlamydia and gonorrhea. That can be done one or two weeks after the incident, and it's a urine test. Then you can get tested for HIV one month, three months, then 6 months after the incident. You have to test at these intervals because it can take up to 6 months for HIV to incubate, but the test is more than 95% accurate at the 3 month mark. As for HPV, you can get a Pap smear, but they're not great for locating a problem after a particular incident. HPV is notoriously slow (it can hide up to three years before it starts to cause problems), so it is recommended that sexually active young women get tested annually no matter what. One week after sex is way too short, and heck, even a month afterwards is short. Just stay on a steady schedule of annual Pap smears, and that should suffice.
To prevent STIs, it is imperative that you use a condom from start to finish. Being selective of partners and limiting the number of partners you have will help you avoid STIs.
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