How to deal with the consequences of an unsafe sex night?
In 2015, 153.000 new HIV cases were detected in Europe, the highest yearly increase (7%) since the 80s. In 2013, 385.000 cases of chlamydia and 52.995 gonorrhea cases were reported in the EU. This chart shows the rate of Syphilis in 2015 in the European territory. Unsafe sex relationships might be more common than we thought.
What Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are you exposed to?
You can get a STD by sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex or contact with bodily fluids such as sperm, saliva, blood, and vaginal discharge. Very few STD’s can be transmitted through skin contact. The most common diseases are: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis,Eurostat B, Pubic Lice, Genital Herpes, Syphilis, Genital and Anal Warts and HIV/AIDs.
STDs can cause the following symptoms: pain with urinating or only urinating small amounts, irritability and itching of the vagina or penis, pain while having sex, abnormal blood loss between menstruations or after sex, more vaginal discharge than usual, pain in belly and fever, ulcers, warts, blisters on the vulva or vagina, anus, mouth or pain in the throat (after oral sex).
Even if you don’t have symptoms, if you are concerned you could be infected you should check it with a doctor. Most of the new transmissions are caused by people who were unaware of of having an infection.
HIV/AIDS, a current problem
At the end of 2015, the cumulative number of people diagnosed with HIV in the European Region increased to over 2 million according to the World Health Organization. That year, 153.000 new HIV cases were detected. Alarmingly, around a third of affected people don’t know that they are infected.
HIV/AIDS is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids. Within a few weeks of having been infected, many people have flu-like symptoms. You can do an HIV test after a 6-week to 6-month period of the last unsafe sexual encounter. There is no known cure for HIV/AIDS although there is medical treatment which delays getting AIDS. The death rate in the EU in 2013 by 100.000 inhabitants was 0.74, according to the last Eurostat release. The European Commission, through the EU health programme implements its policy on HIV/AIDS.
How to prevent it?
Easy, use the condom. The male latex condom is the only contraceptive method considered highly effective in reducing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). Birth control pills and other contraceptive methods may protect you from unwanted pregnancies, but not against STD infection.
Just go to the doctor!
If you are concerned you could have STIs, ask your doctor to test your blood or make a culture, even if you don’t experience any symptoms.
If you are abroad, the European Health Insurance Card is a free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country. Click here to find out how to apply the European Health Insurance Card. Each country has a different social security system, check here which are you rights in each one of the Member States.
Besides the public health system, you find organisations that also can test for STD (some for free or with a fee):
- Belgium: Plate Forme Prévention Sida and Sensoa
- Germany: Berlin Aids Hilfe
- United Kingdom: SH:24
- France: Centre de Planification et d’Education Familial
- Austria: Aids Hilfe Wien
- Bulgaria: Anti-AIDS Coalition
- Cyprus: Kyfa
- Croatia: Croatian National Institute of Public Health or Iskorak
- Spain: Cruz Roja
- Czech Republic: Rozkos bes Rizika
- Denmark: Aids Fondet, HIV Danmark
- Luxembourg: Croix Rouge
- Finland: Hiv Point
- Greece: Checkpoint
- Hungary: National Centre for Epidemiology
- Ireland: HIV Ireland
- Italy: ANLAIDS, Nadir Onlus
- Latvia: DIA+LOGS NGO
- Lithuania:Centre for Communicable Diseases and Aids, Association of PLWHA of Lithuania)
- Netherlands: SOAIDS
- Portugal: Grupo de Ativistas em Tratamentos
- Slovakia: Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic
- Slovenia: SKUC - Magnus
eden: HIV-Sverige, RFSU
- Malta: Gay Malta.
Ending an unwanted pregnancy
In case you want to end an unwanted pregnancy, in most Member States of the European Union, abortion is legal at the early stage of the pregnancy. You can go to the public health system to consult your case. However, in some countries like Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Poland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein and the Vatican abortion is considered illegal.
In the majority of EU countries, you can buy the “morning after pill” (Mifepristone and Misoprostol) in the pharmacies, but if in your country it is not available you can contact Women on Waves. You can find detailed information about the regulation in each country on this map of the Pew Research Centre or this one of Women on Waves.
In the following links you will find contact details about Family Planning Centres, that can inform you about free contraception or abortion: Spain, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Portugal, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Denmark, Austria or Germany. You can also check the International Planned Parenthood Federation.