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J Travel Med. 2009 Mar-Apr;16(2):79-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1708-8305.2008.00279.x.

Sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed among travelers returning from the tropics.

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Maladies Infectieuses, CHU Cavale Blanche, bld Tanguy Prigent, Brest cedex, France.



Data are lacking on the spectrum of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) diagnosed in returning travelers.


All consecutive travelers consulting our tropical unit between November 1, 2002 and October 31, 2003 were included if they presented within 1 month after their return from the tropics, with mucocutaneous signs suggesting STDs.


Forty-nine patients (12 women and 37 men; median age 36.4 y, 35 heterosexuals) were included. Four patients had traveled with their usual sexual partner and 45 patients had casual sex while abroad (31 with locals and 14 with other tourists). The main diagnoses were gonococcal urethritis (n = 18), herpes simplex virus 2 infection (n = 12), urethritis of undetermined origin (n = 9), Chlamydia trachomatis infection (n = 4), primary syphilis (n = 4), and primary human immunodeficiency virus infection (n = 2).


These results illustrate the broad spectrum of STDs contracted by travelers to the tropics. They suggest the need to also inform travelers of the risks of STD and to promote the use of condoms in case of casual sex while abroad.

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