According to an eight-year study conducted in the Sydney Sexual Health Care Centre, which is to be published in the international journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, backpackers should be a priority population for sexual health promotion and access to services.
The study was based on the subjects of 5,700 backpackers who belonged mostly to the UK or Ireland and were in their mid twenties. The typical party behaviours that they indulge were binge drinking and unprotected sex that could lead to the spread of a worrying number of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The STDs that were being spread amongst the local Australian population include Chlamydia, genital warts and herpes, which were all a trigger to an STD crisis.
The study found females were twice as likely to binge on drinks and male backpackers three times so. About 50 per cent of the backpackers admitted to having sex with a new partner when they travelled to another country.
The promiscuity did lead to STDs, in particularly with most backpackers were not prone to using protection. Worse was, the local population was not using the protection as well.
The backpackers also had the tendency to seek help for STDs at Australia's public health clinic as the services were free. Authorities are however concerned with the spread of these STDs to the local population.
Sex health authorities felt there was a need to target backpackers to stop the STD crisis that were occurring in the county. The tourists with sex and booze culture are spreading diseases to the local population, which makes it a hard problem to tackle.
Spreading of awareness through taking children on trips to sexual health clinic was inviting a whole lot of criticism.
We are trying to demystify the experience for children who have to visit later in life, and to make the clinic friendly and welcoming. It is important that they know there are services for young people and how to access them, given all the sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies that we see, said Dr Dawn Wilkinson of the Imperial College Healthcare Trust.
Margaret Morrissey of pressure group Parents Outloud was concerned that, asking a group of 14 year-olds to an STD clinic not only suggests that casual sex is normal, but will make many teenagers feel under pressure to rush into sexual relationships for which they are not ready. I really worry that yet again we are treating children as mini-adults, and storing up terrible consequences for society.