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Open Access Research article

Sexual behaviour among casual workers in an international nightlife resort: a case control study

Karen Hughes* and Mark A Bellis

Author Affiliations

Centre for Public Health, Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Castle House, North Street, Liverpool, L3 2AY, UK

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BMC Public Health 2006, 6:39  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-39

Published: 21 February 2006



Young holidaymakers report increased sexual risk-taking abroad, yet little is currently known about the sexual behaviour of those who extend time abroad through casual work.


Information on sexual behaviour was collected via an anonymous questionnaire administered to British bar and nightclub workers in Ibiza (cases, n = 92) and British people visiting Ibiza for holiday purposes only (controls, n = 868).


Four in five (80.5%) cases who arrived in Ibiza without a partner had sex during their stay and of these two thirds (65.5%) had unprotected sex. Cases were more likely to report sexual risk-taking in Ibiza than controls and reported greater numbers of sexual partners prior to their visit. However, they had fewer sexual partners per week of stay.


Casual workers in bars and nightclubs abroad are a key risk group for sexual health and a potential conduit for the international spread of sexually transmitted infections. While they are an important target group for sexual health promotion, appropriately trained they are also ideally placed to deliver sexual health interventions to other young travellers.