Sexually Transmitted Diseases

New cases of sexually transmitted diseases occur worldwide each year

An estimated 250 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases occur worldwide each year. The figures may be even higher because data from many developing countries are collected sporadically. Gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes are endemic globally but occur most frequently in developing countries. Other sexually-transmitted diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), chancroid, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis, as well as hepatitis B, have become great health risks. Sexually active travelers need to be aware of the high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.

Latex condoms provide the most effective protection against sexually transmitted diseases for those travelers who intend to be sexually active. Travelers should take a supply of condoms along to assure the quality of the latex. Travelers who develop a sexually transmitted disease, and who are treated outside of the US, should try to obtain detailed information about their diagnosis and treatment. This should be reviewed with their physician or nurse practitioner upon return.

Safeguard against the following high-risk behaviors:

  • Engage in unsafe sex
  • Pierce ears or other body parts
  • Accept acupuncture or injections (risk of reused needles)
  • Receive blood or IV fluid transfusions
  • Use illicit injection drugs