Sexually transmitted diseases and travel: From boudoir to bordello

Ann K. Avery, Jonathan M. Zenilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Travel has historically been an important risk factor for acquisition of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Travel is often associated with a sense of adventure, periods of loneliness, and exploration away from one's home environment -which often form a milieu in which sexual activity can occur with new partners. Survey data clearly demonstrate that out-of-country travel is associated with recruitment of new sex partners and increased STI risk. Pretravel counseling to prevent STI risk is variable, and there is little evidence that it modifies risk behavior. Some travel occurs specifically for sexual purposes, such as the sexual tourism junkets to Southeast Asian destinations which became popular during the 1980s or the more recent rise in the popularity of circuit parties for men who have sex with men. Some travel situations pose particularly high risks. For example, military deployments and assignments to work camps such as those for oil extraction occur in the context of large groups of individuals of reproductive age, often predominantly males, exposed to high levels of stress in unfamiliar environments. Additionally, over the past decade, the Internet has dramatically changed the ability to identify sexual partners while traveling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberIOL5-0011-2015
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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