Emegrency Information: Unprotected Sex


Emergency contraception (pregnancy prevention after sex)


If you require emergency contraception, you have two options: Emergency Hormonal Contraception (sometimes inaccurately referred to as the 'Morning After Pill') or the IUD:

Levonelle - up to 72 hours (3 days) after sex
EllaOne - up to 120 hours (5 days) after sex

The most commonly-used emergency contraception is the Emergency Contraception pill. There are two types of pill, commonly known as Levonelle and EllaOne. After around the first 24 hours EllaOne is statistically more effective than Levonelle, but has certain drawbacks compared to Levonelle for some people. The pharmacist / doctor will discuss which is the better option for you. While the two pills have different time limits in which you can take it; neither is 100% guaranteed to work and they're both more likely to work the sooner you take it. Both types of Emergency Contraception pill are available at most pharmacies, although most pharmacies charge around £26 unless you have a prescription from your GP.

However, if you’re aged under 25 you can get it for free automatically (without a prescription) at the pharmacies listed here or at Leeds Sexual Health Clinic in Leeds City Centre. It’s also available to anyone for free at Accident & Emergency Departments.

If you don’t know Leeds very well or struggle to get to a pharmacy within normal working hours, we suggest using the Boots pharmacy at Leeds City Train Station (open daily 'til midnight).

IUD - up to 120 hours (5 days) after sex

Getting an IUD fitted is the most effective method of emergency contraception. The IUD is usually used as a long-term pro-active contraception method but can in fact work as an emergency contraception up to 5 days after sex. Again it’s not 100% guaranteed to work but is more likely to work the sooner you access it. The IUD can be fitted at Leeds Sexual Health Clinic in Leeds City Centre or at some GP surgeries. However it can be difficult to get an appointment for an IUD fitting within a short time frame; so the Emergency Contraception pill (above) might be a more viable option for you.

PEP (HIV prevention after sex) – up to 72 hours after sex


Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a course of medication that you can take if you believe that you may have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours. This medication reduces the chances of HIV being transmitted after the event – a bit like the morning after pill but for HIV. The medication is taken over a course of four weeks, which must start within 72 hours (3 days) of exposure; the sooner the better.

Exposure to HIV can occur if you’ve come into contact with blood or semen from someone who is HIV positive. This could be through unprotected sex (vaginal, anal or oral), through protected sex where the condom has broken or through other means such as sharing needles during injected drug use.

PEP can be accessed at the Leeds Sexual Health Clinic. If they are closed or you aren’t able to contact them for whatever reason, you can go to your nearest Accident & Emergency Department.

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