Somehow, you ended up on a one night stand. You decided to use a condom, but at some point discovered that the condom broke. This encounter suddenly went from ‘protected sex’ to what can now only be considered as ‘unprotected sex’. That means you have also inherited all the risks associated with unprotected sex. There is now the very real possibility of you having contracted an STD.

This is no time for regretting your impromptu decision for a one night stand. Instead, you need to have a plan of action to check and protect your sexual health. It is never a good idea to take any sort of risk, but there are definitely factors that can increase the level of risk of becoming infected with an STI.

Evaluating the risk

Getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is always a possibility when having unprotected sex. Infection rates are actually on the rise across the states, according to figures compiled by CDC.

Yet, if there is any marginal cause for optimism, there are factors that influence your odds of becoming infected.

The age of your partner and your geographical location make a statistical difference to infection rates. It can also matter if your immune system is compromised or weakened. It might be currently fighting off a cold or other infections.

Skin is the protective layer of your body. Any abrasions, rashes or open wounds serve as likely entry points for infections. So apart from your mouth, anus and genital organs, the risks also increase when there is a lesion, cut or rash on any part of your skin. In fact, any area where skin-to-skin contact or exposure to bodily fluids can occur is now considered as compromised.

Immediately after sex

As soon as you discover that you had unprotected sex, and within the first thirty minutes of the event, it would be a good idea to head for the restroom. You can help to potentially lower the risk of a urinary tract infection (UTI) by urinating as soon as possible after sex.

The sooner you visit the restroom, the better. This is your body’s natural way of dealing with bacteria in the urinary tract and your first line of defense. You should then follow up by cleaning your genitals with warm soapy water.

Urinating and washing can only, at best, be considered a good practice’ against bacterial infections. Many common STDs can still make it through. It’s time to get tested.

Visual clues that something is not right

If you are a woman, look for any noticeably unusual discharge. Any obvious odor or changes in discharge color should be investigated, especially if it is cloudier than normal.

Any heightened feelings of itchiness or pain must also be checked out as soon as possible.

If you are a man, you might experience pain when urinating. Other symptoms include swollen testicles or a green, yellow, or white discharge from your penis. Anything that that is definitely not your usual pee stream could be a symptom or a clue that you may have an STD problem.

Reliable STD testing

There are self-test kits available online or at the drugstore. They may give you some piece of mind, however they are not as thorough as a specialized test performed by professionals. These self-test kits can be unreliable and results may vary wildly. Their effectiveness diminishes if they are not performed accurately. Often these kits are only good for testing for certain STDs so even after having performed a self-test, you will still be unsure. Untreated STD can cause havoc to your organs over time, so you want to end any doubt.

For more thorough testing you should consider visiting a lab and getting verified results. There are companies like Safer STD Testing that offer lab results within 3 days. You need to visit for a 15 minute discrete consultation. Once you receive your results, you will also have a first point of contact should you need to investigate the matter further.

Getting tested for STDs on a regular basis is the responsible thing to do. It is a good way of confirming your sexual health. Make regular testing an essential part of your general health strategy.

The waiting game

You may be worried that you may have become infected with an STD, but there are different incubation periods that often need to be observed. How long you have to wait depends on the type of infection you might have. For example, to check for things like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, it is suggested that you get tested within a week.

The average incubation period for Chlamydia is normally anywhere between one and five days. It would be a good idea to get tested around this time frame. Depending on the results, and any treatment afterward, get tested again two weeks later, to confirm that everything is now ok.

Syphilis can take anywhere between three and six weeks to reveal itself. Getting tested before this period has elapsed might not give you a positive confirmation. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B have a similar incubation period of about six or seven weeks, from the date of exposure.

Oral herpes and genital herpes can also take around four to six weeks to show up from when you had unprotected sex.

The key point is to get tested regularly for STDs if your level of sexual activity warrants it. Taking this proactive approach to your sexual health is always the right course of action.

Natalie Martin is a freelance writer, and when she is not working on her next article she can usually be found in her garden. She attended the University of Cincinnati before turning to writing, and now spends much of her time drawing attention to some of the major health problems that are plaguing the country today. Natalie resides along the Gulf Coast with her 6 year old Labrador Retriever.