Travelers risk behavior

During travel and exploration of regions far from home, individuals may engage in risky activities that can lead to potential exposure to pathogens in blood and body fluids, including HIV, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, CMV HTLV-1, and other sexually transmitted infections. Some travelers choose their destinations for sex tourism, and many engage in casual sex with new partners (Marrazzo, 2005). A survey of >9000 European travelers regarding their potential exposure to hepatitis B through sex or other contacts found 6.6-11.2 percent to be at high risk (with 24.4 percent vaccinated), 60.8-75.8 percent had potential risk (with 19.2 percent vaccinated), and only 33.4 percent had no identifiable risk of exposure (Zuckerman and Steffen, 2000).

Among Canadian travelers surveyed, 15 percent had potential exposure to blood and body fluids; 9 percent had sexual intercourse with a new partner, 5 percent shared implements such as a razor or toothbrush, 3.2 percent had an injection for medical treatment, 1 percent had acupuncture or other percutaneous non-traditional treatment, 0.5 percent received tattoos or body piercing, and 0.5 percent experienced abrasive injury (Correia etal., 2001).

In a study of tourists departing from Cuzco, Peru, 5.6 percent indicated that they had engaged in sexual activity with a new partner during their stay there, most commonly with other travelers (54.3 percent). Some reported sex with local partners (40.7 percent) and with commercial sex workers (2.15 percent) (Cabada et al., 2003).

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