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Antibiotics After Sex: Benefits, Risks, Best Practice

antibiotics after sex and implications

Have you every taken antibiotics after sex? It is most likely you did out of fear of getting an infection.

It is one thing to have sexual intercourse and it is another to walk free after without contracting a disease.

There has been so much talk about the use of condom to protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). But some persons, in a bid to seize the moment, have intercourse without a condom.

People who fall in this category always take antibiotics after sex to forestall any chance of contracting an infection.

However, not so many of them have a reliable information about whether taking antibiotics after sex works or not.

Looking through few researches that are available, it becomes obvious that people who practice this need more information.

Antibiotics After Sex And Lower Infection Chances

In 2017, researches came together at a Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

Some of the researchers presented papers on the chances of reducing risk of contracting STIs with the use of antibiotics after sex.

The study involving 232 MSM who were participants in an HIV-prevention trial said half of the men took an antibiotic called doxycycline within 72 hours of sexual intercourse without condom.

The other half did not get any antibiotics after sex.

“All of the men were advised on safe sex practices and provided with condoms.

“Over the next several months, the men were tested for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV every eight weeks.”

“Overall, almost a quarter (one out of four) of the men in the doxycycline group developed an STI.

“The rate was 39% for the men who took no antibiotics.

“Seventy-one percent of the STIs did not have any symptoms.”

While this appears like the antibiotics did not work, the study also has something interesting in its records.

Researches say rates of syphilis and chlamydia were lower for the men who took doxycycline.

But gonorrhea rates were about the same for the two groups.

The researchers concluded that STI risk decreased by 47% for men in the doxycycline group (1).

Possible Resistant Strain Of Bacteria

Where this appears to have a promising result, there are fears that such practices would birth resistance strain for antibiotics.

The more you take antibiotics to reduce risk of STIs the more you increase the chance of having resistance strains of bacteria.

Medical experts often warn that you should not abuse antibiotics. Some STIs have other causes that are not bacteria-related.

Other infections, like herpes, hepatitis, HIV, and human papillomavirus (HPV) are viral infections. They do not respond to antibiotics.

Another Research Finding

Again, another study highlights that the rationale behind post-intercourse therapy is based on the fact that intercourse results in the introduction of bacteria from the urethra into the bladder.


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After intercourse, growth occurs after overnight incubation to the point where voiding and other host defense mechanisms do not eradicate them (2).

In another study 14 patients with chronic or multiple recurrences of infection of the urinary tract have self-administered a single oral dose of one of five antibiotics after sexual intercourse.

They did this for periods of 19 to 111 months for a total of 761 months.

According to the study, infections did not occur among 15 of 22 treatment periods.

A total of 19 infections occurred while the patients were taking prophylactic medication, significantly less than the total of 90 infections recorded during the 705 months when these patients did not take prophylactic doses of antibiotics.

Also, the study says patients taking nitrofurantoin, a cephalosporin, or nalidixic acid had a significant reduction in the proportion of specimens of urine containing any Gram-negative bacteria.

Explaining why this works, another study says an antibiotic taken immediately after intercourse presumably kills or arrests the growth of sensitive bacteria before they reach the critical concentration required to establish an infection in a susceptible individual (3).

While these may appear promising, abuse of antibiotics could also lead to resistant strain of bacteria.

Therefore, doing the right thing will keep you safe from contracting STIs.

How To Reduce Risk Of STIs

Reducing the risk of STIs requires discipline that you can implement.

1.  Always use a condom during all sexual encounters, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. it is better to talk to your partner about safe sex practices. You can add a condom to your wallet and make sure you do not sit on it.

Few seconds of pleasure should not cause you weeks, months or even years of pain.


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2.  Be sure of your infection status to keep your partner safe always. Testing regularly for infection is a good practice. Truly, you can have an infection without presenting any symptom.

3.  Know your partners infection status.

• If you think you or your partner might have an STI, stop having sex and see a doctor as soon as possible. Don’t resume sexual activity until you are positive the infection is gone.

If you find this article helpful, please share with your friends and loved ones to help them know the implications of taking antibiotics after sex. 

Williams Osewezina

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