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Sex tourism poses STI threat - study

Tuesday June 7th, 2016

Growing opportunities for international travel are linked with unsafe sexual practices for thousands of people, researchers warn today.

An analysis of travellers of all ages has found that many find new sexual partners overseas.

These encounters are often linked to excess alcohol, drug use and the absence of condoms, according to a study in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Many male travellers are so-called "sex tourists", using the services of prostitutes overseas, researchers found.

The research was conducted by a team from Glasgow University, University College, London, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

And a second study of back-packers in Thailand found that more than a third found new sexual partners during their travels, usually among other back-packers.

The first study came from an analysis of a British national survey involving some 15,000 people.

Some 10% of men and 20% of women said they had found a new partner overseas. Among those over the age of 35, it was 5% of men and 2.5% of women. Most men and the majority of women had partners from other countries.

Some 26% of these men had paid for sex.

The study of back-packers involved more than 2,000 people in 2013. Some 39% said they had found a new sexual partner and 37% said the use of condoms was inconsistent or non-existent. This was most common among Britons and Swedes, according to researcher Christopher Lewis, from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Writing in the journal Drs Alberto Matteelli and Susanna Capone, of the University of Brescia, Italy, warn: "The consequences on sexually transmitted infections could be substantial. STIs have uneven geographical distribution, and travellers may act as bridges between high-burden and low-burden countries."

Sexually Transmitted Infections 7 June 2016 [abstract]

Tags: Asia | Europe | Flu & Viruses | Traveller Health | UK News | World Health

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