The Ultimate Newbie Guide to Thailand

 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Thailand

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) is something a traveler to Thailand should think seriously about. Needless to say, this topic is an important one when it comes to sex tourism.
A guide like this cannot be expected to cover this topic adequately. Admittedly it is too extensive and too important to be presented here in any detail; however a basic outline will be given here regarding the most common STDís. The reader is referred to other sources on the internet via links, such as Center for Disease Control and also to do free searches on this topic. Wearing a condom is the best known precaution for most of these diseases, except in case of infection through a partnerís saliva etc.

Bacterial STD's: These are infectious diseases and include: Chancroid, Chlamydia, Granuloma inguinale, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis. There are various symptoms that are easily observed including painful urination, infected discharge from the penis and eye infections. In some cases there are no easily notable symptoms in the beginning or even at later stages. These diseases are all curable with proper treatment. However, if untreated some of them, for example syphilis, can cause irreversible health effects including brain damage. Most of these are transmittable through oral (even kissing), anal or regular vaginal intercourse.

Viral STD's: These infections are caused by viruses and include: Viral hepatitis (B), Herpes simplex (1 & 2) and HIV. Hepatitis B can be prevented with prober vaccination and is generally spread through saliva (kissing) and causes up to 1.2 million deaths per year, though preventable it is not curable. Herpes simplex usually causes oral and genital blistering (cold soars). In some cases no symptoms are manifest. There is no cure for herpes though some treatment is effective for the symptoms. HIV is the most serious of all as it likely will turn in to AIDS, which causes most victims to die sooner or later.

HIV/AIDS: This is definitely the most serious of all STD's. It is known that HIV spreads from person to person via body fluids, mostly by blood. Despite a lot of research there is still some controversy as to the actual possible means of its spread. Statistics range from zero or near zero chance of contraction through touching or kissing to significant probability through unprotected anal or vaginal sex. Infection through oral sex is considered unlikely but not an all excluded possibility. Many sex tourists have caught HIV in Thailand.

Infectious Mononucleosis: Infectious mononucleosis is not strictly speaking a STD but should be mentioned. This is also known as the kissing disease kissing disease from its oral transmission or simply as mono in North America. It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus which causes high fever and inflammation of the throat for even several weeks. It is really one type of the herpes virus. Most people are exposed to the virus as children, when the disease produces no noticeable symptoms or only flu-like symptoms. In developing countries, people are exposed to the virus in early childhood more often than in developed countries so tourists from the latter countries are more at risk.

Tuberculosis (TB): Tuberculosis is not a STD, but travelers should be aware that the disease exists in Thailand and at a certain stage it is highly contagious. Having sex with a partner that has TB increases the risk of infection in susceptible individuals. In 2005, the TB notification rate in Thailand was 94 per 100 000 persons.


Useful links:
Sexually transmitted disease - Wikipedia
Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Information from CDC
CDC - STD Treatment

     
     

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