A meta-analysis and systematic literature review of factors associated with sexual risk-taking during international travel


BACKGROUND: International travel facilitates global spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI). Travellers could contribute to onward transmission of pathogens rarely encountered at home and export new strains to the destination. The aim was to systematically examine evidence regarding determinants of travel-related sexual risk-taking and identify knowledge gaps and areas for targeted interventions. METHOD: Articles published in peer-reviewed journals from 2000 to 2017 were screened in 6 databases and assessed for relevance against criteria. Data was extracted for factors associated with travel-related STI or proxies. Meta-analyses estimated pooled prevalence of casual sex and non-condom use. Adjusted odds ratios of predictors were pooled to generate a combined estimate. RESULT: Forty-nine articles qualified for inclusion. A heterogeneity test indicated variation across studies. The pooled prevalence of casual travel sex was 35% and prevalence of non-condom use 17%. Expectations of casual sex strongly predicted sex with a new partner when travelling abroad. Planning to have sex indicated condom use. CONCLUSION: The studies largely represented sub-groups of risk-taking populations from a European context, indicating substantial knowledge gaps. Studies investigating migrants travelling to visit friends and relatives, older travellers, and female travelers are needed. Post-travel harm reduction activities may serve as a focus for future interventions


Svensson P, Sundbeck M, Persson KI, Stafstrom M, Ostergren PO, Mannheimer L, Agardh A




  • Population(s)
    • Men who have sex with men
    • General HIV+ population
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention
    • Sexual risk behaviour


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