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Alcohol Use by Women Increases their Risks of Unprotected Sex and STIs

alcohol abuse and unprotected sex and stisA new study has researchers concluding that alcohol use by women increases their risk of having unprotected sex and of catching STIs, or sexually transmitted infections. University of Cincinnati College of Medicine researchers found that 66.9% of women who were college aged had unprotected sex the last time they had a sexual encounter where alcohol was involved, and the study results were published in the online version of the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 287 females in the targeted age group self reported their most recent alcohol related sexual activity, and the reporting was done anonymously so that participants were more likely to be completely candid and honest.

The lead author of the research on alcohol use, unprotected sex, and STIs was University of Cincinnati College of Medicine associate professor Jennifer Brown, PhD. Brown explained that “Relative to older women, young women engage in an elevated rate of alcohol use and are at increased risk for adverse sexual health outcomes. Understanding the factors that may underlie the association between alcohol and condomless sex among young women is of considerable public health importance.” Brown continued by saying “Particularly because incident HIV infections and other sexually transmitted infections are on the rise among women, and the majority of these are transmitted via heterosexual contact.. Most young women reported levels of heavy drinking prior to sex, which can impair their cognitive functioning and decision-making. These findings underscore the need to examine the associations between alcohol consumption and sexual risk-taking. Within this context, beliefs that drinking could result in sexual risk-taking may account for why motives for sex to satisfy personal physical needs relate to decreased condom use.”

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