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Backpackers Disease

Partying Culture
Dancing at a club
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Australian health authorities will be targeting promiscuous backpackers who flock to Australia, get drunk and have unprotected sex.

The campaign is intended to control rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

Unlike Australian residents, new figures showed young international travellers were more likely to binge drink, engage in sexual encounters with multiple partners and fail to use condoms.

An eight-year study conducted by the Sydney Sexual Health Centre saw approximately 5,700 backpackers and found that a culture of sex, alcohol and partying was creating an STD crisis.

Diseases such as Chlamydia, genital warts and herpes, were found to be spread to the rest of the population by this partying culture.

The conclusion of the research stated that "backpackers should be a priority population for sexual health promotion and access to services". The research is soon to be published in the international journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

The researchers identified the majority of backpackers as being aged in their mid-20s and came from the U.K. or Ireland.

Whilst female backpackers were found to be twice as likely to binge drink as their Australian counterparts, their male counterparts were three times more likely to consume dangerous levels of alcohol.

Of those who travelled to Sydney, about half of the men and 30 percent of the women also admitted to having more than two sexual partners in the preceding three months.
Both Australian residents and backpackers were identified as having low rates of condom use.

Ten percent of backpackers said they had sex while in Thailand in the previous year, but they sought help for STDs at Australia's public sexual health clinics because they are free.

The study also found that up to half of the people who visit another country have sex with a new partner when they travel.

Michael Palmer

Photo: Supplied

Date: 27/03/2010


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Free health. That's right. The way it should be, to visitors and residence alike. This standard should be applied the world over. Use of protection needs to be promoted for all visitors when entering country. Most likely at airports.


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