A systematic review and meta-analysis of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses in travellers


Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne viruses (BBVs) impose a global health and economic burden. International travellers facilitate the spread of infectious diseases, including STIs. Hence, this review assessed the prevalence/proportionate morbidity of travellers with STIs and sexually transmitted BBVs, and factors associated with the infection in this population.

Methods: PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, CINHAL, Embase, and Cochrane Library were searched from inception of the databases until November 2022. Published analytical observational studies reporting the prevalence/proportionate morbidity of travellers with STIs and factors associated with STIs by type of traveller (i.e. tourists, business travellers, students, visiting friends or relatives [VFRs], international truck drivers, backpackers, expatriates, and men who have sex with men [MSM]) were included. The selection of articles, data extraction, and risk of bias assessment were conducted by two independent reviewers. Meta-analyses were conducted for each STI by clinical presentation and type of traveller.

Results: Thirty-two studies (n = 387 731 travellers) were included, 19 evaluated the proportionate morbidity of STIs among symptomatic travellers, while 13 examined the prevalence of STIs in asymptomatic travellers. The highest proportionate morbidity was found among VFRs (syphilis, 1.67%; 95%CI:1.03–2.81%), backpackers (chlamydia trachomatis, 6.58%; 95%CI: 5.96–7.25%), and MSM (HIV [2.50%;95%CI:0.44–12.88%], gonorrhoea [4.17%;95%CI:1.1.5–13.98%], lymphogranuloma venereum [4.17%;95%CI:1.1.5–13.98%], and HAV [20.0%; 95% CI: 14.99–26.17%]). The highest prevalence of STIs among asymptomatic were found in MSM (HIV [25.94%;95%CI:22.21–30.05%] and HBV [24.90%; 95%CI:21.23–28.96%]) and backpackers (chlamydia trachomatis, 3.92%;95% CI:2.72–5.32%). Short duration of the trip (<1 month), not having pre-travel consultation, travelling to Southeast Asia, and being unvaccinated for HBV were identified as risk factors for STIs.

Conclusion: Strategies to prevent STIs and sexually transmitted BBVs should be discussed at pretravel consultations and recommendations should be prioritized in high-risk groups of travellers, such as backpackers, VFRs, and MSMs. Additionally, healthcare providers should tailor recommendations for safe sex practices to individual travellers’ unique needs.


Shiferaw W, Martin BM, Dean JA, Mills D, Lau C, Paterson D, Koh K, Eriksson L, Furuya-Kanamori L




  • Population(s)
    • Men who have sex with men
    • General HIV- population
  • Co-infections
    • Hepatitis B, C
    • Chlamydia
    • Gonorrhea


Abstract/Full paper

Email 1 selected articles

Email 1 selected articles

Error! The email wasn't sent. Please try again.

Your email has been sent!