Sexual and reproductive health during international travel: Expectations and experiences among female university students

Summer L. Martins, Wendy L. Hellerstedt, Sonya S. Brady, Susan M. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To evaluate female students’ expectations and experiences related to their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) during international travel. Participants: Female students from a US university with a history of sex with men completed a cross-sectional survey about their upcoming (Pre-travelers; n = 170) or recent (Travelers; n = 340) international travel. Methods: Descriptive statistics were used to characterize pre-travel SRH expectations (for Pre-travelers) and to determine the prevalence of 15 SRH experiences during both recent and lifetime travel (for Travelers). Results: Pre-travelers overwhelmingly expected to be abstinent and many were unsure of whether SRH supplies would be accessible in their destination. During Travelers’ recent trip, SRH experiences included getting off schedule with contraception (30%), unwanted sexual touching (18%), new male sex partners (17%), and unexpected sex (15%); lifetime prevalence estimates were higher. Conclusions: International travel poses risks to female students’ SRH that can be addressed by pre-travel counseling from study-abroad programs and clinicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2108-2115
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number7
Early online dateDec 1 2020
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Martins’ efforts on data collection and analysis were also supported by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health [grant no. US-DHHS/HRSA T76-MC00005].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Contraception
  • international travel
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • student health services
  • study abroad
  • unintended pregnancy

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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