Too Much Alcohol Is Associated With Unsafe Sex

Each drink increases poor decision-making and may increase the risk of HIV infection.

A new study suggests that drinking too much alcohol can lead to unprotected sex.

Unsafe sex is the most common cause of HIV infection, and finding ways to prevent unsafe sex is an important goal of public health efforts to prevent HIV / AIDS.

Alcohol abuse has been associated with HIV infection. However, it was not clear whether the unsafe sex associated with alcoholism actually led to HIV infection, or whether certain personality traits, such as the pursuit of meaning or risky behavior, led to alcohol consumption and unsafe sex

In this study, researchers led by Juergen Rehm, director of social and epidemiological research at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario, Canada, conducted 12 trials that proved the relationship between cause and effect. They concluded that alcohol affects decision making and that this effect increases with the amount of alcohol consumed.

“The more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to have unprotected sex,” the study authors write. For each 0.1 mg / ml increase in the level of alcohol in the blood, there was a 5 percent increase in the probability of unsafe sexual participation.

The study was published in the January issue of the journal Addiction.

“Drinking has a causal effect on the likelihood of having unprotected sex and, therefore, should be included as a key factor in HIV prevention efforts,” Reham said in a daily news release. “This finding also helps explain why people at risk often exhibit this behavior despite better knowledge: alcohol affects decision-making processes.”

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