Summer time in Australia is the best time of the year. It’s a busy time for travelling, with more Australia’s heading overseas than any other time of year, with over 800,000 Aussies reporting overseas travel in December 2016. It's also the most popular time for for having sex - according to a 2015 study by the ABS, almost half said they were intimate on Christmas Day!
Clearly it’s the season for flying. Travelling overseas can be exciting. There’s a thrill of being in a new place, surrounded by new people and surroundings. It can cause us to act differently to how we would at home and we might take more risks. You might have more sex than you normally would, or different types with different people.
Sex while travelling can be amazing, but you should be aware of the possible risks. Rates of blood-borne viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C and sexually transmissible infections like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis can be higher in some countries so you need to take steps in protecting yourself.
Here are few tips for keeping yourself safe while having fun overseas.
- Bring condoms with you.
Condoms can sometimes be hard to find overseas, especially if you have a particular favourite when it comes to size or brand. Bringing your own means you’re prepared for fun at any time. You might not even be planning on having sex, but sometimes you just happen to lock eyes with a hottie across the bar. It’s better to be prepared!
- Consider using PrEP to protect you against HIV
If you are travelling to a high HIV prevalence country, you may want to consider using Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). It’s a medication that when taken every day is highly effective at preventing HIV. Considering the rising number of Australian men acquiring HIV while overseas, PrEP is a great way to ensure you are protected, especially if you choose not to use condoms.
- Use PEP if something goes wrong
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis is a medication used to reduce your likelihood of getting HIV after an exposure, like having sex without a condom or the condom breaking.
It’s a month-long course of medication that needs to be started within 72 hours, so it’s important to start taking it as soon as possible. You can call the Consular Emergency Centre on +61262613305 for help finding it overseas, however, it may not be covered by your travel insurance.
- Make sure you use condoms if you have sex with a sex worker
Condom usage and rates of HIV and STIs in sex workers differ from country to country. Australia has high condom use and low rates of infections, but this is not always the case in other countries. If you are going to have sex with a sex worker while you travel, make sure you use a condom.
- Have a sexual health test when you get home
No-one loves tests, but it's a good idea to have a sexual health test when returning home if you have had sex overseas, especially if it was unprotected or the condom broke. Ask your doctor for a full sexual health test, including HIV and hepatitis, so that you can take full control of your health.
Life is an adventure, so go out there and explore the world and your sexuality. Just make sure you take care of yourself. Rates of overseas-acquired blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections are rising, so it’s important to use protection and get tested.