Alcohol can lead to unsafe sex: It's official

December 12, 2011

A new study has found that alcohol consumption directly impacts a person's intention to have unsafe sex. In other words, the more you drink, the stronger becomes your intention to engage in unsafe sex.

Unsafe sex is the most important pathway to , and it is a main risk factor for the global burden of disease. Despite this knowledge, and substantial efforts to prevent , HIV incidence in most high income countries (such as the US or the UK) has not changed over the past decade. In some cases, it has even increased. Finding better ways to prevent unsafe sex is thus a major goal of public health efforts for HIV/AIDS prevention.

, especially heavy drinking, has long been associated with HIV incidence. However, there have been doubts about the cause-and-effect relationship. Researchers weren't sure if alcohol consumption caused HIV via unsafe sex, or whether certain in individuals, such as sensation-seeking or a disposition to in general, would lead to both alcohol use and unsafe sex.

The study, published in the January issue of the journal Addiction, summarizes the results of 12 experiments that tested this cause-and-effect relationship in a systematic way. After pooling the results, the researchers found that alcohol consumption affects decision-making, and that this impact rises with the amount of alcohol consumed. The more alcohol that participants consumed, the higher their willingness to engage in unsafe sex.

In these experiments, were randomly allocated to one of two groups in which they either consumed alcohol or did not. Then their intention to engage in unsafe sex was measured. An increase in of 0.1 mg/mL resulted in an increase of 5.0% (95% CI: 2.8% - 7.1%) in the indicated likelihood of engaging in unprotected sex. This result remained stable in sensitivity analyses aimed to correct for a potential .

"Drinking has a causal effect on the likelihood to engage in unsafe sex, and thus should be included as a major factor in preventive efforts for HIV", commented Dr. J. Rehm, the Principal Investigator of the study. "This result also helps explain why people at risk often show this behaviour despite better knowledge: alcohol is influencing their decision processes."

Future HIV/AIDS prevention programs should include the results of this study. For instance, efforts to reduce drinking, and especially to reduce heavy drinking occasions, will not only avoid compromising the immune system but will also lower the chance of engaging in unsafe sex, thereby reducing the number of new HIV infections.

Explore further: Love matters: Internet hookups for men don't always mean unsafe sex

More information: Rehm J., Shield K.D., Joharchi N. and Shuper P.A. Alcohol consumption and the intention to engage in unprotected sex: Systematic review and meta-analysis of experimental studies. Addiction 107, 51-9, doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03621.x

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8 comments

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hcl
5 / 5 (1) Dec 12, 2011
Alcohol can lead to unsafe anything.

Anyhow, the point of my comment is to dispute the mislabeling of the sexual act as "unsafe". This is a science site, not a morality course. Acts that result in the continuance of the human species are not "unsafe", per se. We all know that if no one took the "risk" of premartial sex, extra-pair couplings, and so forth, evolution would proceed more slowly and at depopulative levels. 'Nuff said.
rawa1
3 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2011
Alcohol can lead to unsafe sex: It's official
Why the tax payers are forced to pay for such trivial research? The responsible persons who are allowing it should be fired ASAP. And the rest of psychologists can start with the study "How the overemployment of researchers in social sciences leads into trivial wasteful research."
rawa1
1 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2011
The ignorance of cold fusion with mainstream physics has its counterpart at psychological sciences in ignorance of really interesting phenomena, like the telepathy and Chi energy. http://www.youtub...ovb2kZ9Q Instead of this the psychologists are spending their time and public money with verification of well known trivial experience like this one: http://www.telegr...ars.html Apparently, too many people don't know, what to do with public money.

Sinister1811
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2011
Alcohol can lead to good times: It's official.
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2011
Alcohol can lead to good times: It's official.


Unfortunately, it can also lead to bad times. Especially the following day.
Nanobanano
1 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2011
Someone should forward this to Conan Obrien.

I never would have guessed this in a million years.

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.

They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again

===

Hangover, unsafe sex, fights, and the idiot wants it again...

Nothing new under the Sun indeed.
theknifeman
5 / 5 (1) Dec 13, 2011
Alcohol can lead to unsafe sex: It's official
Why the tax payers are forced to pay for such trivial research? The responsible persons who are allowing it should be fired ASAP. And the rest of psychologists can start with the study "How the overemployment of researchers in social sciences leads into trivial wasteful research."


Agreed!
Eric_B
not rated yet Dec 13, 2011
deuteriumized-alcohol can lead to cold fusion in bed.

right rawa1 ?

BTW, does RAWA stand for "race war"?

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