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Alcohol and Unsafe Sex

Alcohol affects decision-making, which can lead to unsafe sex.

Also, the likelihood that someone will have unsafe sex rises with the amount of alcohol consumed.

This may not come as a surprise. However, a study to be published in the January 2012 issue of Addiction sheds some new light on the relationship between alcohol use and risky sexual behavior.

Canadian researchers divided study participants into two groups. One group consumed alcohol and the other didn’t. After 12 experiments, the researchers found that a participant’s willingness to have unsafe sex increased with the amount of alcohol he or she drank.

For every 0.1 mg/mL increase in blood alcohol level, the likelihood of someone having unprotected sex increased by 5%.

“This result…helps explain why people at risk often show this behavior despite better knowledge: alcohol is influencing their decision process,” said study Principal Investigator Dr. Jurgen Rehm in an Addiction press release.

Unsafe sex can lead to a number of problems, including the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like HPV (human papillomavirus, associated with several types of cancer) and HIV, the virus that eventually leads to AIDS.

Unplanned pregnancies are also a common result of unsafe sex, as are unintended affairs and other issues that can hurt committed relationships.

If you believe you have a problem with alcohol, speak to your doctor about your treatment options.

For more information about STDs and safer sex practices, these links can help:

Taking Stock on World AIDS Day

STD Tests for the Elderly

STDs and Safe Sex