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Sun, sex and suspicious partners: Looking after your sexual health on a summer holiday

July 31, 2015 Brigette Bard

This year I took my summer holiday in the Spanish city of Barcelona and, in between admiring the Segrada Familia Cathedral, bargain hunting on Las Ramblas whilst sipping cocktails and watching the world go by on the Placa Reial, I got to thinking about how we all want different things from our summer holidays.

For some they give us a chance to see the world, for some they provide the opportunity just to relax in the sun for a couple of weeks with a good book and for others they’re a way to let your hair down and party hard.

We all work hard throughout the year, at school, college, university and in our jobs, so a holiday should always be something we look back on and smile, knowing that the graft, the saving up and the jet lag was worth it all.

And, for the rest of the year, when we’re not sunning it in some far flung destination, we find ourselves looking for new places to visit in glossy magazines, listening to friends tell us the graphic details of their holiday escapades, or just lounging on the sofa watching holiday programmes and wishing we were somewhere with some sunshine.

I love to live vicariously watching Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents on BBC Three. For those of you that haven’t watched it, you should!

Each week two people jet off to somewhere like Ibiza, Malia, Faliraki, Zante or Majorca for a booze fuelled week or partying with their mates. Little do they know however, that their parents are flown out as well – in secret – and watch everything they do, before confronting their kids about their wild behaviour on the last day of the holiday.

It’s eye watering  – although I have to wonder why, since the programme has been running for years, the holiday makers don’t think there is something suspicious going on since they’re being followed around for a week by a camera crew…

Anyway, there’s a serious point to me talking about TV viewing habits. And that’s the second word of the title of the show. Sex.

In pretty much every episode copious amounts of alcohol are consumed, there’s no shortage of nudity and nine times out of 10, at least one of the holiday makers plucks somebody random out of a dodgy nightclub and saunters back off to their apartment with them.

The following day while watching the video of this, parents are horrified to see their little boy or girl behaving this way and in many cases are shocked to see that their son or daughter has brought condoms with them!

But I’m not surprised at all, in fact I’d be disappointed if they didn’t. After all, we all learned about safe sex in school and holiday sex is more ‘popular’ than these parents might think, perhaps even expected.

More magazine published the results of a survey which included 2,000 British women of the average age of 25. Of these, a massive 80% had intercourse with “a stranger” on their holiday. A third have been intimate with the locals, 21% with hotel staff, 18% with tour organisers and 2% with airline personnel!

An online pharmacy survey found that one in five women trust their holiday partners not to give them a sexually transmitted infection. The More survey revealed 40% do not use condoms!

And according to AIDS Map, one in five UK men diagnosed with HIV, have contracted the virus abroad.

Remember that when you meet someone on holiday, no matter how attractive and sincere they might be, you don’t know them. You don’t know if they are carrying a sexually transmitted infection – they might not know if they are carrying a sexually transmitted infection. So what can you do to protect yourself? Always use a condom. Carry one in your bag or wallet and don’t expect your partner to have one- just expect them to use one. If they refuse, it’s highly likely they’ve had unprotected sex with somebody else. They’re not worth your time, so don’t take the risk.

If you have already been on holiday and have taken a risk with your sexual health and didn’t use a condom, don’t worry too much – just get yourself tested for sexually transmitted infections as soon as you can and then if needed, you can start treatment. But you do have to test to get treated

You can find out more about BioSure’s HIV self test here – and you can test yourself at your own time and place, with a result in 15 minutes giving you more than 99.7% certainty.  

This summer have an amazing holiday that you can look back on in three months and smile at the amazing time you had, not worry that you took a risk with your health.




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