STDs And Traveling Abroad: Are You At A Higher Risk?

Travelers who have unprotected, casual sex are at high risk for STDs. Actually, 20% of travelers confirmed that they have had casual sex with a partner they met in a foreign country.

According to researchers, the excitement from being abroad and the effects of alcohol and drugs may encourage people to participate in activities that they normally wouldn’t participate in, which is why having protected sex is as important as ever.

Every traveler who has any type of casual sex is at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes, HIV and gonorrhea. Even though the majority of STDs are treatable, some may cause serious health complications and problems and can even lead to death.

STDs and Traveling Abroad

Population mobility has increased significantly in the past few decades, and so has the variety and frequency of sexually transmitted infections. These two factors are closely linked.

People see traveling as an opportunity to escape their normal behaviors, which is why travel can have an impact on somebody’s sex life. Despite the high of risk of diseases among travelers, sexually transmitted disease prevention is sometimes limited during travel.

There are many factors that are likely to enhance a traveler’s mood and adrenaline levels, including cheap alcohol, drugs, glistening sun and even those gold sand beaches. In addition, many travelers meet like-minded and decide to have casual sex.

In a spot with dedicated hotels for travelers and many tourists, of course there is a higher chance that you will get STDs. Of course, this applies only if you meet someone and end up having unprotected sex.

There are risks present everywhere you go. That being said, infection rates can vary wildly from country to country. Always take local conditions into account when you engage in sexual activities. Practice safe sex as often as possible.

Generally speaking, unprotected sex abroad has the same risks as unprotected sex with a stranger at home. Therefore, it is not only important to keep yourself safe, but you must also know what to do in the case you get a STD while traveling.

Getting an STI while Traveling

There is no worst time to hear that you have a sexually transmitted infection than when you are abroad. Of course, this is equally serious when you are back home, but being abroad means that you are in an unfamiliar territory and fighting off a new condition.

This sounds scary and the truth is, most infections do not disappear on their own or overnight. Still, you have many options while outside your country or city.

If there is any possibility that you have contracted an STI while traveling, you should seek appropriate medical advice as soon as possible.

What should you do?

  1. Check your insurance and see if it covers treatments and tests.
  2. Expect everything. Depending on your location, the level of care can differ. Some countries have bad health care systems, while others are very thorough. If you are in a country with a bad healthcare system, do your research and visit trusted facilities.
  3. Once a doctor has confirmed that you actually have contracted an STI and need to be treated, be vigilant. If you have to take antibiotics to treat the condition, make sure you stick to the schedule.
  4. Don’t forget to ask for a copy of the prescription and copies of any tests and results. This will help your doctor to continue or change your treatment.

Detecting STD Symptoms while Abroad

Remember that not every person will get symptoms and that symptoms can vary from one infected individual to another. This means that you should seek medical advice regardless of whether you are experiencing symptoms, since many conditions such as Chlamydia can go completely unnoticed.

If you had unprotected sex with a person you met abroad, get checked at the first possible opportunity.

The most common symptoms of STDs include:

  • Itching and soreness in the genital areas
  • Unusual discharge
  • Pain when urinating

Of course, you can always check if you have a STD when you get back home, but this is only recommended for people whose trips abroad are short. If you are traveling and staying away from home for a longer period of time, it is best to go ahead and get check out as soon as you can.

How to Reduce the Risk of STDs While Traveling


The first rule is: pack condoms. Even if you are not planning to have sex or unprotected sex, always do this.

If you forget, you can always buy condoms abroad. Still, it is best to be careful and check the expiration date of the condoms, as well as look for condoms with recognized quality kite trademark. The quality of condoms can vary greatly when you are abroad.

STDs are most commonly transmitted through sexual intercourse, but not just the penetrative type. Remember that you can get a sexually transmitted infection in other ways, including skin-to-skin contact on your genital area and oral sex.


There are several vaccinations that you may want to consider before going abroad. Visit your local clinic and ask for such measures that will help you protect against some STIs. Of course, this will depend on the country you are planning to visit and the STDs present there.


The nature of your travel and the companions may motivate you to take alcohol and use drugs. This is a risky behavior when it comes to STDs, since these are known to be some of the most common reasons why travelers often have unprotected casual sex.

Therefore, be prepared. If you are planning to consume alcohol and drugs and decide to have casual sex, always take condoms with you.


Depending on your location and consumption, you may be vulnerable to sexual assault. Unfortunately, this can happen anywhere in the world, so make sure to take safety precautions.

Are you ready for your trip? If you are careful, traveling abroad does not necessarily have to put you at an increased risk of getting STDs. Just be safe.

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