In the latest episode of Queer as Fuck, one of the characters reveals that while on holidays in Mexico, he slipped up and fell out of his safe-sex routine.

Being out of his home country, he wasn’t aware of the prevention services, like PEP, available to him.While many of us are ‘old hacks’ at safe sex and sexual health routines at home, being on holidays can sometimes trip us up when accidents happen. How can we be as prepared as possible, wherever sex happens?

Be prepared
Before you go, see your doctor for a check-up. Get a complete sexual health check to be sure you aren’t carrying and passing on sexually transmitted infections. Having an untreated STI increases your risk of picking up and passing on HIV.
While many of us in Australia are used to having easy access to condoms and water-based lube along with education materials, this might not be the same in your holiday destination.

Do your research
Pick up the local gay press or find out if there is a local gay and lesbian health organisation that might be of assistance in case of emergency, which might be able to refer you to appropriate health services.
If all else fails, it can be helpful to have the contact details for the closest Australian consulate or embassy.
If you’re HIV positive, research travel restrictions for HIV positive people in your destination countries. The www.positivetravel.info website has up-to-date information, listed country by country.

Rest assured by being insured
The value of travel insurance cannot be measured, especially should you need medical assistance during your travels, sexual health emergencies included. Do your research with the insurance provider to see what you would be covered for in case of a medical emergency.

Pack your bags
You can get free condoms and water-based lube at many community venues, clinics and organisations in Australia. This may not be the case overseas. Don’t risk ending up at your hotel with trade, and not having protection — pack it! This also saves you having to find out how to ask “Where is the nearest pharmacy?” in a foreign language.

Holiday hangover
While returning home after an enjoyable holiday can be tough, coming back with an STI could make it even tougher. Book into your sexual health clinic soon after you’ve settled back into your routine at home. If you’ve sampled some local trade while on holiday, getting tested and treated is the easiest way to keep the holiday memories pleasant ones.

By Jason Asselin

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