DAN Medical Frequently Asked Questions

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Sexually transmitted diseases

Travelers who practice high-risk sexual behaviors are advised to be aware of their likelihood of encountering sexually transmitted diseases — a likelihood that may be much higher in certain countries than others. Travelers who practice high-risk sexual behaviors are advised to be aware of their likelihood of encountering sexually transmitted diseases — a likelihood that may be much higher in certain countries than others.

The most serious of those is AIDS. Currently, 147 countries report to UNAIDS on their progress in combating HIV/ AIDS. The latest statistics, from 2014, show that nearly 37 million people worldwide were infected with HIV; new cases continue to be reported all around the world, with 70 percent of them in sub-Saharan Africa. The worldwide prevalence rate is less than 1 percent, but the rate is over 10 percent in many African countries and over 27 percent in Swaziland. The wide availability of effective antiretroviral therapy has helped keep AIDS deaths comparatively low in recent years — to about 27,000 in Western and Central Europe and North America in 2013; in Africa, however, AIDS is the leading cause of death.

A number of other sexually transmitted diseases — including hepatitis B, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea — are also widespread. Travelers are advised to be aware of the risks of these diseases.

Treatment nowadays is frequently complicated by antibiotic resistance on the part of the organisms involved or by the lack of any effective treatment at all. Prophylaxis — prevention — is the best strategy. Other than abstinence, the most effective prophylactic measure is the conscientious use of condoms.



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