One of the best ways to stay healthy this festive season is to cut back on alcohol. A new report, published in the journal Addiction, links alcohol and sex for the first time and finds the stronger becomes your intention to engage in unsafe sex.
Alcohol consumption, especially heavy drinking, has long been associated with HIV incidence and campaigners want more to be done to educate women about the dangers.
The case studies were split into two groups, one of which drank alcohol. Alcohol consumption affects decision-making directly and, pooling results from 12 studies, the results can be quantified - an increase in blood alcohol level 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.
"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,” said 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."