Health tips for travellers: How to prevent blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Depending on your plans, travelling can increase your risk of catching a blood borne virus or a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Not sure how to avoid becoming ill while travelling? Read our tips below.
How is a blood borne virus and a sexually transmitted infection (STI) spread?
A blood borne virus is transmitted if you get in contact with infected blood or body fluids, for example while getting a tattoo or a body piercing. You can also catch a blood borne virus sexually.
As the name indicates, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are mainly spread by sexual contact, and are a group of viral, bacterial and parasitic infections.
While some blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections can be prevented by a vaccine, for example hepatitis B, many can’t. It is therefore important to take precautions while travelling.
How can you prevent blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) while travelling?
For effective blood borne virus and STI prevention while travelling, you should avoid having unprotected sex and sharing needles or other injection equipment.
You should also avoid getting tattoos and body piercings, having acupuncture and getting shaved at a barbershop unless sterile equipment is used.
It is recommended that you follow universal precautions if you work in a medical, dental or high risk setting.
If you have been in contact with blood or body fluids while travelling, you should seek medical advice. If you need further tests after your travel, you should contact your GP.
Why is blood borne virus and STI prevention important?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than one million people get infected by a STI every day worldwide, and blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) remain a big problem around the world.
Even though you may not experience any symptoms when you first get infected with a blood borne virus or a STI, both can have serious implications on your long-term health.
It’s therefore important that you take necessary precautions. So, follow these simple steps when travelling to a risk area, and stay healthy while away!
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