Face it: Accidents happen. One night a condom could break. Or you stupidly might not have used one at all. But don’t panic. Here’s a complete primer on everything you need to know about preventing pregnancy and protecting yourself from STDs after you’ve done the deed.
If you wind up in this nail-biting situation, don’t waste time cursing yourself out for not being more careful. You need to act quickly to prevent your biggest concerns from coming true. Whether you’re worried about an unwanted pregnancy or an STD infection — or both — we’ve mapped out a clear guide to get you through. You’ll want to print out these pages and keep them in your nightstand…just in case.
Your Damage-Control Timeline
The morning after: Get your gyno to phone in an Rx for emergency contraception to your pharmacy. Also — unless you know your partner is STD-free — make two appointments for testing, one in a week and the second in three months.
One to five days later: Take emergency contraception as soon as you can get your hands on it (ideally on the first day, since the earlier you take it, the more effective it is).
One week later: Go to your gyno to get a preventive shot against hepatitis B and be tested for gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and chlamydia.
Five to seven days later: If you haven’t taken emergency contraception yet, consider having an IUD inserted and make an appointment for the procedure ASAP.
One week after your next period was due: If you haven’t had your period yet, take a home-pregnancy test to make sure the emergency contraception worked.
Three months later: Go in for your second round of STD testing — this time for HIV, herpes, hepatitis C and syphilis.
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