Some travellers like to go away for a relaxing, unwinding break, others go for adventure, and others go for a party holiday. Alcohol, clubs, sun, sea and sex all come hand in hand for some on their lads or girls holiday away. However, it’s not just the teens that can find themselves having casual sex abroad with virtual strangers. More and more men and women of all ages and backgrounds are joining in too, with little thought for their sexual health.
Surveys show that many people have sex with previously unknown foreign partners while abroad resulting in sexually transmitted disease on return home. 80% of AIDS cases reported in the UK in 1993 were contracted while abroad.
The only sexually transmitted disease that is preventable by vaccination is Hepatitis B. However, it’s worth remembering that although you may be safe against one disease, there are many more out there and if a person does have hepatitis B, you have no idea what else they may have.
It only take one time unprotected to contract an STI. Don’t take the risk! Make sure you have a supply of condoms with you, whether or not you intend to use them. They should be bought at home, before travelling, as in many countries local condoms can be destroyed by heat and are often of a poorer quality. Go for the Extra Safe variety just in case. The Pill can protect against pregnancy, but will offer no protection against STI’s whatsoever.
If once you return home you have any unusual rash, discharge or soreness, you should stop having sex immediately and see your Doctor or local Genital Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic, where they can conduct a series of tests for you and offer advice, free contraception and treatment. All this is confidential.