High Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Young Peruvians Who Have Sexual Intercourse With Foreign Travelers in Cuzco

Authors

  • Miguel M. Cabada MD,

    1. Infectious Diseases Fellowship Training Program, Infectious Diseases Division, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA
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  • Juan I. Echevarria MD,

    1. Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Alexander von Humboldt,” Department of Medicine, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
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  • Carlos Seas MD,

    1. Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Alexander von Humboldt,” Department of Medicine, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
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  • Eduardo Gotuzzo MD

    1. Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Alexander von Humboldt,” Department of Medicine, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
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  • Part of the data reported in this article was presented as a poster at the 9th Conference of the International Society of Travel Medicine in Lisbon, Portugal. May 1-5, 2005.

Miguel M. Cabada, MD, 6315 Central City Boulevard, Apartment 116, Galveston, TX 77551, USA. E-mail address: micabada@utmb.edu

Abstract

Background Sexual networking in popular tourist destinations is a problem worldwide. In Peru, locals sexually interacting with travelers bridge high-risk groups, the general population, and travelers.

Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted in Cuzco about sexual behavior among young Peruvians who admitted having sex with travelers. A subgroup of the participants had serologic testing for Chlamydia trachomatis, Herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2, and Treponema pallidum.

Results Eighty-eight subjects volunteered for blood sampling. Their mean age was 22.9 years (±4.1) and 53.4% were male. The majority were single (86.2%), but 12.6% had a stable relationship. The median number of sexual partners in the 3 months prior to the study was 2 [interquartile range (IQR): 1–4]. During that period, 43.1% reported foreign partners, 28.4% reported foreign and Peruvian partners, 17% reported Peruvian partners, and the remaining 11.5% reported combinations of Peruvian, foreign, and sex workers partners. The median number of foreign partners in the 12-month period prior to the study was 4 (IQR: 2–8). Only 25.3% reported consistent condom use. Alcohol (69%) and drugs (36.8%) were commonly used before sexual activity. Seventy-eight percent tested positive for HSV type 2, 25% for C trachomatis, and 1.1% for T pallidum.

Conclusions The core group of young Peruvians we report on demonstrated a high-risk sexual behavior and a high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections. Our results underscore the need for education on safer sex practices among this group and among travelers.

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