Sexual health is about looking after yourself and others. This means enjoying the sexual activity you want, safely, without causing you or anyone else any suffering, either physical or mental. It is not just about using contraception or avoiding infections.


It’s not always easy to buy good quality condoms on holiday. It’s best for you to pack a supply before you go.

This doesn’t mean you’re looking for sex, it just means you’re well prepared.


Whether you are taking a holiday at home or going abroad, you may be at risk of contracting STIs including HIV if you have unprotected sex with someone. You cannot tell by looking at someone if they have an infection or not.

It’s not always easy to buy good quality condoms when on holiday in a foreign country. It’s best to pack a supply before you go. This does not mean you are looking for sex, it means you are prepared.

You can access condoms for free at any sexual health clinic in NHS Ayrshire & Arran and through our local C Card scheme (click here for more information on the C Card scheme including how you can sign up). The C Card scheme allows you to access free condoms at variety of premises known as Collection Points. Once you have a C Card you can collect a free supply of 12 condoms whenever you need them.

Practice using condoms on your own before the real event. This will help avoid an awkward moment if you are unsure how to use them. Most boxes of condoms have instructions and a diagram on a leaflet that will help you. Make sure the condoms have a CE mark on them or BSI Kite mark. These marks mean the condoms meet a recognised quality and standard.

Try to remember things like sunscreen, lipsticks, fake tan, heat and direct sunlight can weaken condoms. Keep condoms in a cool, dry place and if you are having anal sex use water based lubricants. Be careful not to damage the condom with sharp nails or jewellery. Even a tiny hole or tear in the condom means it is no longer effective.

If you do forget to take condoms with you – here are a few translations of the word “condom” which might come in useful:
French: Preservatif
Greek: Profilakto
German: Kondom
Turkish: Preservatif or Kaput
Spanish: Preservativo or Condom
Russian pronounced: Galosha
Danish or Swedish: Kondom
Scottish Gaelic: Condom
Italian: Preservativo

If you’re holidaying at home or abroad you’re at risk of contracting STI’s including HIV, if you have unprotected sex with someone. The scary thing is you can’t always tell by looking at people if they’ve got something or not.


Safer sex is not just about using condoms. You can reduce the risk in other ways such as having fewer sexual partners or choosing low risk activities like mutual masturbation or massage.

If you do go abroad on holiday, be aware that the risk of catching an STI is higher in some parts of the world than others.


A relaxed atmosphere on holiday may mean an increase in the amount of alcohol you drink.

Alcohol is a depressant drug and as a result can make a person feel less inhibited, relaxed and give an increased feeling of confidence. This could potentially lead to an increase in risk taking behaviour such as unprotected or regretted sex.

When drunk you are less likely to talk to your partner about condom use or to use condoms properly.

Being drunk can also make you more vulnerable to unwanted sexual behaviour. This can happen to anyone regardless of age, whether they are male or female, gay, straight or bisexual. If someone tries to make you do something and you don’t want to do it, you always have the right to say no – whether you are drunk or not.

Take care when drinking alcohol and be aware of safe limits. Keep yourself safe and take care not to bring back any unwanted souvenirs from your holiday such as an STI.