Unsafe Sexual Practices Common Among Women Who Binge Drink

 Unsafe Sexual Practices Common Among Women Who Binge Drink
A new study says that women, who binge drink are more likely to indulge in unsafe sexual practices, and so are at an increased risk of having sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The researchers found that women, who drink more than five alcoholic beverages at one time, are likely to unsafe sexual practices - such as multiple partners and anal sex.

"Binge drinking results in a decreased ability to make clear decisions and can enable individuals to engage in behaviours that they would not if sober," said Geetanjali Chander, assistant professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"Initially, some individuals may drink with the expectation of decreasing inhibitions, or some may drink because they are anxious, or depressed, and they expect alcohol to alleviate their symptoms.

"Regardless of why they choose to drink, many people do not perceive the potential risk or harm that may result from binge drinking," she added.

During the study, between July 2000 and August 2001, researchers approached 795 STD-clinic patients being evaluated or treated for STDs.

Of those approached, 671, 322 males, 349 females agreed to answer questions about their recent alcohol/drug use and risky sexual behaviours using audio computer-assisted-self interview technology.

"We found that binge drinking among women STD-clinic patients is associated with certain risky sexual behaviours," said Heidi E. Hutton, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as well as corresponding author for the study.

"Across gender, women binge drinkers are more likely to have anal sex than men binge drinkers. Within gender, women binge drinkers are three times as likely to have anal sex, and twice as likely to have multiple sex partners compared to women who do not drink alcohol.

"Compared to non-drinking women, women binge drinkers are also five times as likely to have gonorrhea," she added.

Hutton said that both binge drinking and risky sexual behaviours are more hazardous to women than men.

"Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease which reflects unsafe sexual practices," Chander said.

"This association between binge drinking and high-risk sexual behaviours is especially important as risky behaviours are associated with HIV acquisition and transmission," she added.

The study is published in the November issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.


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