The summer season is filled with fun, festivals and holidays. However, this can make it far too easy for young people in particular to get carried away, and engage in unprotected sexual activities that can result either in unwanted pregnancy, or contracting a sexually transmitted infection. The good news is that there are a number of essential tips that can help young people to remain safe over the summer season.
Most people look at holidays as a chance to relax, get away from it all, enjoy themselves and indulge in activities that they may not do in their ordinary lives at home. Whether visiting relatives and friends, on a business trip, going to a festival or just having a holiday, feeling that “anything goes” actually increases the odds of risky sexual activities. However, just taking a number of simple precautions can cut down the chances of an unwanted pregnancy or contracting an STI.
Drugs and alcohol
Many people indulge in drugs and alcohol while on holiday. These activities carry with them a number of risks, one of which is that, in general, the more you consume, the greater the chances are that your inhibitions will be significantly lowered, which could result in having sex without the protection of wearing a condom. This is a highly dangerous activity that can result in pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Never judge by appearances
Appearances are no way to judge whether or not someone may be infected with HIV or some other sexually transmitted infection. The reality is that many who have this type of condition may not even be aware that they are infected themselves, so it is vital to insist on the use of a condom in any sexual activity. Condoms still provide the most effective form of protection, and just one instance of having sex without a condom can result in unwanted pregnancy or infection with HIV, hepatitis B or another STI, making the risk simply not worth taking.
Always carry condoms
It is a good idea to take a supply of condoms with you on holiday, in order to make sure you are prepared for any sexual activity. It is important to check that these condoms carry either the European CE stamp or the UK Kitemark, as this guarantees that they are manufactured to a high quality. Oil based products along the lines of Vaseline, suntan lotion, lipstick, moisturiser and baby oil can easily damage latex condoms, and heat can also cause problems, so be sure to store the condoms somewhere dry and cool.
Consult your travel health advisor
If you believe there is a chance that you may indulge in unprotected sex while on an overseas holiday, it would be a good idea to bring up the subject of vaccination with your travel health advisor in order to protect yourself against the hepatitis B virus.
This virus can be spread by blood contact and sexual relations, and is a very common infection all over the world, but particularly so in areas such as Asia, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. An infection by hepatitis B can last for the rest of your life and even result in liver failure. A lot of people are infected without realising it and thus spread the infection on to others, but the use of a condom can be an effective protection against the virus.
Visit a sexual health clinic
If you do engage in some form of sexual activity while you are away on holiday, when you get back home it would be worth consulting a sexual health clinic for the purposes of a check-up. Such check-ups are always confidential, and can test for all known sexually transmitted infections including the likes of HIV. Sexually transmitted infections that are left untreated can result in a wide variety of serious health issues including infertility, but the great majority can be cleared up just with a simple course of antibiotics – if they are diagnosed while they are still in their early stages. It is important to keep in mind that, with a number of STIs, no symptoms appear, while some symptoms may be the result of different health issues altogether. Don’t panic, but do make sure you have a check up.