What Happens If You Have Unprotected Sex While Taking Doxycycline?

Studies show that taking one 200mg dose of doxycycline within 72 hours after unprotected sex prevents chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. This is called doxycycline post-exposure prophylaxis, or doxyPEP.

This strategy may work best for people who do not use condoms, such as gay men or transgender women who have sex with men.

1. Increased Risk of STIs

STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are on the rise across the country. These infections can lead to serious health issues, including eye and brain damage, and infertility for women, if left untreated. Condoms can help prevent many STIs, but people don’t always use them consistently or correctly. Researchers have found that if you take the antibiotic doxycycline within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it reduces the risk of bacterial STIs by more than 60%. This preventive method is called doxycycline postexposure prophylaxis, or doxy-PEP.

The study enrolled 501 people considered at increased risk for a bacterial STI (like those who had sex with men, or had sex while taking HIV medication to prevent HIV infection). Participants were randomly assigned to receive doxy-PEP or standard care. They were told to take doxycycline as soon as possible, within 72 hours of the time of unprotected sex. They were also asked to regularly visit a clinic for STI testing.

Over the course of the study, doxy-PEP significantly reduced the rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea. However, syphilis and hepatitis C remained higher in those who took doxy-PEP, than in those receiving standard care. The researchers believe hepatitis C is more common among those who do not use a condom, and are continuing to investigate alternative ways to help prevent hepatitis C.

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2. Less Effective Birth Control Pills

Many people may be aware that some antibiotics decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. This is mostly true for antibiotics that contain rifamycin or other tetracycline-type antibiotics, but not all of them (doxycycline being one). It is recommended to use back-up contraception while taking these medications and for 7 days after finishing them. Some other factors, like vomiting or diarrhea, can also affect how the pill is absorbed.

Although STIs can be treated with antibiotics, it is preferable to prevent them altogether by practicing safe sex. Unprotected sex not only has immediate health consequences but can lead to feelings of guilt, shame and regret. It is also important to remember that if an STD is contracted, it can be passed on to others.

Studies show that taking a single dose of doxycycline within 72 hours after unprotected sex significantly decreases the risk of getting an STI, especially for those at increased risk of infection such as men who have sex with men and transgender women. This is called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP. Despite this, many medical professionals are not comfortable recommending PEP because the practice could increase antimicrobial resistance. Ultimately, condoms remain the best way to protect against STIs. But if you have been unable to use them for whatever reason, doxycycline PEP could be a good option for you.

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3. Increased Risk of Unplanned Pregnancy

Unplanned pregnancy can have a serious impact on a person’s life. Not only does it carry a host of emotional and financial costs, but it can also put the health of both mother and child at risk. The good news is that many cases of unplanned pregnancy can be prevented with birth control and regular testing.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are on the rise nationwide. These infections can have long-term effects on a person’s health and often lead to unwanted pregnancy. Condoms can prevent STIs, but they are not always used consistently or correctly. So researchers have been looking at other ways to reduce STI rates, including using antibiotics as pre-exposure prophylaxis.

One study found that taking 200 mg of doxycycline within 72 hours of unprotected sex led to a 60-70% reduction in chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea transmission in men and transgender women who had sex with men. It’s important to note, though, that doxycycline PEP should not be used as a substitute for other forms of contraception. The medication can interact with antacids and iron supplements, and it can make birth control pills less effective.

Regardless of whether you’re taking doxycycline or not, it’s crucial to practice safe sex and use a reliable form of birth control. Unprotected sex can have a host of negative physical and emotional consequences, so it’s always better to avoid it altogether.

4. Guilt and Shame

Although they are often used interchangeably, guilt and shame describe different emotional experiences. Guilt involves feeling bad about something you did, while shame is a low-self-esteem emotion that can lead to feelings of embarrassment and inadequacy. Learning the difference between these emotions can help you better understand and cope with your feelings of shame.

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Research suggests that both guilt and shame have a negative impact on self-esteem. Moreover, researchers have found that both can cause social difficulties, including loneliness and isolation. Additionally, people with high levels of shame have a harder time empathizing with others. They may also have a harder time accepting and coping with their own flaws, such as addictions or mental health conditions.

Aside from causing problems with self-esteem, shame and guilt can result in toxic relationships and behaviors. For example, abusive relationships can include shaming tactics like gaslighting or blame-tripping. These can degrade a person’s sense of self-worth and confidence and make them feel powerless. Shame can also make it difficult to take care of yourself or ask for what you need from others.

Luckily, both guilt and shame can be addressed through online therapy. Getting matched with a counselor who is experienced in helping people with these issues can help you learn healthy ways to cope with your feelings of guilt and shame while reclaiming your sense of worth.

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