Blood borne and sexually transmitted diseases are passed from person to person through blood to blood contact or exchange of bodily fluids.
From anecdotal evidence and traveller surveys we know that casual sex is not uncommon during travel. Condoms are included in the Travel Doctor-TMVC comprehensive travel medical kit as a reminder to practise safe sex with any new sexual partner to avoid the risk of getting one of the many sexually transmitted diseases. It only takes one unprotected sexual encounter to contract a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV-AIDS.
Travelling overseas may increase the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. Holiday and business travel provides opportunities for casual sexual encounters. Commonly occurring STDs include gonorrhoea, syphilis, Hepatitis B, cancroid, herpes simplex, genital warts and chlamydia.
Many STDs don’t have any obvious signs or symptoms. STD symptoms for men can include flu-like symptoms and fevers, clear or smelly discharge from the penis, itchiness, pain when urinating, swollen testicles, ulcers, and genital blisters. Symptoms for women can include flu-like symptoms and fevers, bleeding between periods, pain in the pelvis, vaginal fluid discharge, itchiness, pain when urinating, ulcers, and genital blisters.
It is important to be aware that while the symptoms of these diseases may be trivial, the long-term consequences for the individual and his or her partner at home may have long-term consequences, including infertility.
The only sure way to avoid STDs is to abstain from sexual contact altogether. Safer sexual practices such as using condoms may help prevent infection. Antibiotics will not prevent infection.
While condoms prevent infection spread by body fluids they do not always protect against infections spread by direct skin contact, such as herpes and warts.
Some STDs are easily treated with antibiotics, while others are not. Consult a doctor to discuss your symptoms and the best course of treatment. Avoid sex, especially unprotected sex, until you have consulted with your doctor.