Are you thinking about your next holiday? The thought of lying by a pool, sipping on cocktails and meeting new friends may be very enticing. But while it’s easy to think about the bliss you might have on your next getaway, you can just as easily let down your guard, and depending on what you get up to you may increase the possibility of acquiring a sexually transmissible infection (STI) or a blood borne virus such as HIV and Hepatitis.
In recent years, the number of Australians who have acquired HIV and STIs whilst travelling or living overseas has risen. This is largely a result of travellers engaging in unsafe sex practices. In many parts of the world, such as our neighbouring South East Asia region HIV and STI prevalence rates are still much higher than here in Australia and are even increasing amongst some populations.
When we are travelling and in a new place it can be easy for us to become uninhibited. We often do things we wouldn’t necessarily do at home. We might make friends with everyone around us. We might drink more or use substances we wouldn’t normally use. We might take risks in search of new experiences. We might have more sex, maybe with a fellow traveller, a local, or a sex worker.
If you are getting ready for your next trip, it may come in handy to check out this travel checklist:
- Book in to see a GP/travel doctor to discuss health requirements before you go and discuss having a consult on your return.
- Discuss risk of infections, STIs and Blood Borne Viruses and any vaccines that are available (plan ahead as some vaccinations may take up to 6 months for full immunity)
- Make sure you don’t have a STI prior to travel-get tested. Blisters, bumps and sores provide an entry point for HIV and STI to enter your body. Having an STI can increase your risk of HIV tenfold.
- Stock up on condoms and lube, keep them in a cool place, practice using them and get confident in talking about using them before you go.
- Get tested after your holiday.
- Safer Sex and Contraception
- STI Testing
- STI's - Are You at Risk?
- How to Seek Active Consent
- Sexual Consent
- What to do if you've had Unsafe Sex
- How to use Condoms
- Other Hints and Tips for Safer Sex