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Sexual Health Abroad

If you are sexually active while you are abroad, please be aware that laws, cultural norms and risks related to sexual activity may vary widely, and it is important, therefore, to consider the context of your individual situation and assume a greater degree of caution.

Please also note that some means of safe sex and contraception may be more difficult to obtain abroad, or the quality may vary (as in the case of condoms), so you may want to take an adequate supply with you. Access to reproductive health services can vary widely as well.

Sexually transmitted infectious diseases (STDs or STIs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and syphilis continue to pose serious health risks in virtually every country. The HIV virus, which is responsible for AIDS, is not only transmitted sexually but also through contaminated hypodermic needles and infected blood supplies.

Please exercise all precautions, including the use of condoms, to prevent contraction of sexually transmitted diseases. Both men and women who are planning to be sexually active should carry condoms. Remember that many STDs do not exhibit obvious symptoms or only do so at certain stages, which means they can be transmitted without either partner’s knowledge.

Also remember that information related to sexual activities, transmitted diseases, diagnosis and means of transmission varies widely. Individuals may not fully understand how transmission of diseases occurs, may be unfamiliar with signs of infection or may not even know that such diseases exist. Again, always consider the context of your situation and assume an appropriate degree of caution.

For information on sexually-transmitted diseases and prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sites on STDs and HIV/AIDs.

Read more about Sexual Violence Abroad.

Revised 8/14/2018