The Toronto Star reports:

Young Brit vacationers are bringing home unwanted souvenirs — sexually transmitted infections and risk of death and serious health problems — from risky sexual behaviour abroad, according to the British Medical Journal. Today’s edition calls for more pre-holiday warnings and post-holiday screening.

Even more worrying, says the researcher, “is tour operators’ encouragement of sex with partners by presenting prizes.”

A study of British vacationers in Tenerife showed that 50 per cent of those aged 25 or younger had had sex with someone new while on holiday, compared to 22 per cent of those over 25.

Travellers to developing countries are additionally at risk of “tropical” infections, such as syphilis, which is also now a major problem in countries of the former Soviet bloc. HIV infection rates are also on the increase at home and abroad, and the risk is increased in areas of high prevalence, such as sub-Sarahan Africa, the Far East and, more recently, India, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Between 2000 and 2002, 69 per cent of men in the United Kingdom who acquired HIV from heterosexual sex were infected while abroad, reports the BMJ.