Safe sex

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

Many travellers have unsafe sex with a new partner, even if they were not expecting to. Alcohol often plays a role. 

Sexual transmittable diseases (STD) can cause symptoms, including blisters or ulcers in the genitals, abnormal discharge, pain when urinating or a generalised skin rash. Often there are no symptoms at all, particularly in the early stages.

Risk areas

Sexually transmitted diseases occur all over the world. Certain sexual transmittable diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and syphilis are more common in Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe.

Prevention

Condoms

It is sensible to take condoms with you if you are travelling without a partner, even if you are not expecting to have sex. This will ensure that you have access to reliable condoms if and when you need them. 

  • Check the expiry date. 
  • Check the quality label (CE logo). 
  • Store the condoms in a cool, dark place (away from sunlight and not in the car). 
  • Do not use oil-based lubricants (only water-based).

Alcohol

Do not drink too much alcohol. This increases the risk of unsafe sex.

New partner

Always use condoms during sexual contact with a new partner, including for oral sex. You cannot see whether a person is infected with a sexual transmittable disease and the other person can be infected without realising it. 

Rape

Take into consideration that the risk of being raped is higher in some countries.

Hepatitis B

Consider vaccination against Hepatitis B.

Have you had unsafe sex?

Get yourself tested, even if you do not have symptoms.

Inform your partner to prevent transmission of an STD and use condoms until a possible STD has been treated or excluded.

In case of symptoms

A diagnosis needs to be made as soon as possible if you are experiencing symptoms. Call the travel assistance insurance during your trip for advice on reliable medical facilities. You can contact your general practitioner or a specialised clinic like ITM (make an appointment) after returning home. 

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