Men Having Sex

All About STDs During Travel

DISCLAIMER: This is a post some might consider to be of the “TMI” variety. You have been warned!

I planned to spend my last full day in Stockholm, Sweden exploring the city’s surrounding archipelago by boat. Unfortunately, when I went to use the restroom in the morning, I realized that probably wouldn’t be happening.

You see, I felt a pretty intense burning as I peed; the sensation continued long after I zipped up my pants. A quick Google search revealed that I probably had gonorrhea.

A second, even quicker Google search revealed than Sweden’s free universal healthcare also applies to foreigners, so I decided to abandon my trip into the Stockholm archipelago and instead tend to my health, lest I leave it in the hands of doctors in my next destination, Italy, whose healthcare system I assumed would be just as broken as its government.

I arrived to the clinic just before lunch, about five hours before I needed to be at the airport for my flight to Milan. This was a good call: The STD clinic was positively packed; and the procedure was such that I needed to wait in line to get an appointment and then wait a second time, for my appointment to be called.

By the time I was in the examination room with my pants around my ankles, more than two hours had passed.

The clinician, whose advanced age had me feeling somewhere between ashamed and embarrassed, was pointed in her line of questioning.

“So, you think you have gonorrhea?”

I nodded. “Yes. I’ve got all the symptoms: Burning during urination, discharge and redness. I’m flying to Italy in a few hours and I really need to get this treated.”

“You do know,” she answered, as she slipped on a glove, “that the gonorrhea test takes a few days, right?”

“I do,” I said, “but I think my case is clear. Would you mind performing a physical examination?”

“Oh, not at all,” she half-smiled, and snapped the rubber of the glove against her wrist.

The examination lasted only seconds. “I’m reasonably certain you have gonorrhea, so I’m going to give you a pill that should cure it in one shot. We’ll email you with the final results, if that’s OK — and you’ll need to see a doctor in Italy in a couple weeks to make sure the infection’s gone — but this should take care of you.”

I breathed a sigh of relief, pulled up my pants and thanked the woman as I ran out the door, my magic pill in hand.

Even if the place you’re traveling when you contract an STD doesn’t have free, universal healthcare like Sweden, you owe it to yourself to take action as immediately as possible.


About The Author

is the author of 1051 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!


Get Email Updates

Like what you're reading? Sign up to receive my weekly email newsletter – it's like a trip around the world to end every week!

Upcoming Trips

  • Sydney, Australia January 16-19
  • New Zealand January 20-February 4


Stefano January 24, 2013 at 8:24 am

I must contradict you here. Our health system is excellent, far better than you might think. And as far as STDs are concerned, in that case you could have waited until you landed in Milan and then gone to the STD clinic in viale Jenner, where you’d be given quick, anonymous and free treatment for your gonorrhea.

Robert Schrader January 24, 2013 at 9:17 am

Interesting to know! Thanks Stefano!

Pami Toll January 26, 2013 at 9:53 am

DId you TELL ALL YOUR PRIOR SEX PARTNERS ABOUT YOUR GONORHEA? lot of women dont get symptoms? Do tell them now. they can become sterile from the infection.. And.. If it was just gonorherra.From the date of symptoms go back at least a week before, unless you had symptoms you ignored. Best to cover a month before of sex contacts just in case.

Pami Toll January 26, 2013 at 9:54 am

Anyone visiting chicago with STDs.. There are County health clinics for just that Veneral diseases as well as the emergency rooms at the John Stroger Hospital. They can see you on a free basis or sliding scale. The County health clinics didnt used to charge but they may charge a small feel now..

Robert Schrader January 27, 2013 at 3:26 am

Thanks for the tip, Pami!

Joshua W January 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm

It’s not TMI at all, in fact I respect that you’re saying something that really does need to be said. I had a near miss with HIV in Portugal, caught scabies from an empty bed in Morocco (I maintain that line to this day) and most recently had to get treated for something else fairly common and minor – the overarching lesson is that you can’t trust ANYONE to look after your sexual health, except for yourself. At best people are clueless, ignorant or uneducated, at worst they just don’t care. Too many people think a condom is the silver bullet that protects you from absolutely everything (it obviously isn’t), they have no idea about different health risks, how diseases spread, what the symptoms are and when they do show symptoms they pass them off as something else. Best thing you can do is protect yourself (with information, condoms, HPV vaccine etc), be open and stay safe.

Joshua W January 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm

And now I probably look like a complete slut! ha!

Robert Schrader January 28, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Ouch, Josh that sounds rough! It sounds like we both need to travel with someone who’s into the same things we are. 😛

Robert Schrader January 28, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Kind of, but that’s OK. One slut + one slut = a lot of fun.

christian July 10, 2013 at 8:12 am

I have the same problem, can you give me the address of this clinic please

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: