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Int Marit Health. 2015;66(4):238-46. doi: 10.5603/IMH.2015.0045.

Travel-related sexually transmitted infections.

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Head of Department of Epidemiology and Tropical Medicine, Military Institute of Medicine, Warsaw, Poland.


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are among the most common notifiable health problems worldwide, with particularly high rates in developing countries. Men and women with multiple sexual partners at home or a previous history of STIs are more likely to have casual sexual exposure (CSE) while travelling. Over the last several decades 5% to even 50% of short-term travellers engaged in CSE during foreign trips. It is estimated that only 50% of travellers use condoms during casual sex abroad. Sexual contact with commercial sex workers is an exceptionally high-risk behaviour. The common risk factor is also young age. Adolescents and young adults constitute 25% of the sexually active population, but represent almost 50% of all new acquired STIs. Many STIs are asymptomatic and therefore can be difficult to identify and control. The clinical manifestation of STIs can be grouped into a number of syndromes, such as genital ulcer or erosion, urethral or vaginal discharge, pelvic inflammatory disease. STIs are divided into curable infections caused by bacteria (gonorrhoea, chlamydiasis, syphilis, chancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum, granuloma inguinale) or protozoa (trichomoniasis) and incurable viral infections (genital herpes, genital warts, HIV). STIs are not only a cause of acute morbidity, but may result in complications including male and female infertility, ectopic pregnancy, cervical cancer, premature mortality or miscarriage. Monogamous sex with a stable, uninfected partner or sexual abstinence remains the only way to avoid the risk of becoming infected with STIs.


clinical symptoms; epidemiology; prevention; sexually transmitted infections; travellers

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