What are Sexually Transmitted Infections?
Travellers should know the risks and consequences of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). More than 25 infectious organisms can be transmitted through sexual activity such as intercourse, anal sex, oral sex and sometimes even kissing. The most serious of these infections can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, stillbirth, genital cancers and death. Infections to consider are gonorrhoea, syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B, chancroid, herpes simplex, human papilloma virus (HPV) and chlamydia. Two of these STIs, Hepatitis B and HPV, are vaccine-preventable.
While the risk of contracting STIs varies around the world, the safer-sex methods of avoiding them are universal. Unprotected sex is risky with any new partner, particularly one who has had multiple partners including commercial sex trade workers. Always use condoms purchased in a developed country to reduce your risk.
- Avoid sex
- Talk to your partner about safer sex
- Choose safer sexual activities like kissing and touching
- Always use condoms effectively
- Get tested
- Ask your partner if they have been tested
- Many STIs do not immediately cause symptoms. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to STIs, your first course of action is to abstain from all sexual activity.
- Inform your family doctor if you suspect you have been exposed to STIs at home or while travelling.
- Contact the Calgary STI Clinic at 403-955-6700 for medical counselling and testing.
- For health information 24 hours a day, call 811 for advice from Health Link.
- Check out Calgary Sexual Health Centre for more sexual health information.