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 Fresh Food: Sexually Transmitted Disease: Vaccinations

    Russia is an unhealthy country with a declining population, but most serious health risks can be avoided by taking basic precautions: Don't drink tap water, and be careful with what you eat.

    Some of Russia's freshest food is sold from stalls, but it's often hard to tell the difference between the tasty and the tainted. If you plan on doing any experimenting, it's a good idea to have some Imodium or other medicine for diarrhea. Moscow and St. Petersburg have supermarkets with Western-quality food, but it's harder to avoid markets and kiosks in less developed areas. Bottled water is widely available, although in provincial areas, often only carbonated.

    Russia is confronted with several epidemics of Sexual Transmitted Diseases. The most prominent one is HIV (Medecins Sans Frontieres estimates that 350,000 to 600,000 people are living with HIV or AIDS in Russia), although syphilis is at present still predominant. Visitors to Russia run a high risk of acquiring STDs when they do not take simple precautions, such as using condoms when engaging in sexual intercourse.

    Russia has no vaccination requirements, but it's a good idea to be up-to-date with your shots. For more advice on which shots to get and which diseases to worry about, check out:

World Health Organization
(More information...)

U.S. Center for Disease Control
Health Information for Travelers
(More information...)

Travel Health on the Web
Travel Doctor
An Australian firm that specializes in travel medical advice.
(More information...)

Travel Health Online
A site offering country-by-country summaries of traveler's health information.
(More information...)

U.S. State Department
Medical information for travelers - includes list of emergency evacuation services.
(More information...)

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