Alcohol Consumption, Drug Use, and Condom Use Among STD Clinic Patients

Center for Health and Behavior, Syracuse University, New York 13244-2340, USA.
Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs (Impact Factor: 2.76). 10/2009; 70(5):762-70. DOI: 10.15288/jsad.2009.70.762
Source: PubMed


Research on the association between substance use and sexual risk behavior has yielded a complex pattern of findings. Such inconsistent findings may reflect method variance, including factors such as gender of the participant, nature of the sexual event, partner characteristics, and type of substance used. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between substance use and unprotected sex independently for alcohol, drugs, or combined substance use and to examine partner characteristics as a moderator of this association.
Participants (N = 1,419; 48% women) were recruited from a publicly funded sexually transmitted disease clinic and were asked to complete an audio computer-assisted self-interview regarding their most recent sexual experience, including nature of the event, substance use, and partner characteristics.
Analyses showed that alcohol use was related to condom use when gender and partner type were considered; thus, for women, but not for men, partner type interacted with alcohol consumption such that condom use was less likely when alcohol consumption preceded sex with nonprimary partners (drinking was unrelated to condom use with primary partners). Subsequent analyses examining partner substance use showed that women, but not men, who reported both they and their nonprimary partners were drinking during sex were less likely to use a condom.
At the event level, alcohol consumption among sexually transmitted disease clinic patients is associated with condom use, but this association differs by gender and partner characteristics. Findings suggest the need to strengthen substance-use components in sexual risk reduction interventions for women and their partners.

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    • "Other studies however found that alcohol consumption and condom use by women were associated with whether the relationship was with a primary sexual partner (were more likely to use a condom), or a nonprimary sexual partner (less likely to use a condom) [40]. The study, however, did not present information on age groups specifically although it did mention that condom use was more likely in younger participants (mean age: 24.66 both sexes included) than older participants (mean age: 29.84 both sexes included) [40]. These studies were predominantly on younger aged women. "
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    • "Having non-main sexual partners was chosen as the outcome of interest because data were collected regarding sex practices with main and non-main partners as categories. Unprotected sex with non-main sexual partners was chosen as a second outcome because sexual risk behaviors, including the effects of alcohol use prior to sex, have been shown to vary significantly based on whether a sexual partner is a main or a non-main partner [20, 27]. Moreover, as explained in the introduction, a greater risk of STD transmission and of a generalization of the HIV epidemic arises from having sex with non-main partners rather than main partners [21]. "
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    • "(FGD young man) It has been reported that alcohol consumption among STI clinic patients was associated with condom use, but this association differed by gender and partner characteristics; for women, partner type interacted with alcohol consumption such that condom use was less likely when alcohol consumption preceded sex with non-primary partners. The findings suggested the need to strengthen substance-use components in sexual risk reduction interventions for women and their partners (Scott-Sheldon et al., 2009). Both men and women were afraid of not getting rid of the disease. "
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