Alcohol consumption, ART usage and high-risk sex among women infected with HIV

AIDS Behav. 2007 Mar;11(2):205-15. doi: 10.1007/s10461-006-9159-6.


We examine the role of alcohol consumption on sexual risk behavior among a cohort of 187 sexually active HIV-infected women (aged 18-61) in care at an urban ambulatory clinic in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. Sexual risk behavior among women on and off antiretroviral therapy (ART) and the relationship between alcohol use, ART, and behavior was also explored. One-fourth of respondents were classified as binge drinkers and the average number of drinking occasions per week ranged from none to 10-12. Approximately 60% were prescribed ART and self-reported adherence was 90%. One-third of the women reported no condom use at last vaginal sex, 62% reported inconsistent condom use for vaginal sex, and 7% had multiple male sex partners in the last month. Binge alcohol users and women on ART were significantly more likely to participate in each sexual risk outcome examined. Partner refusal of condom use was also significantly associated with binge drinking patterns. Results lend strength to the equivocal literature on the relationship between both alcohol and prescription of ART and sexual behavior. Enhanced detection of alcohol abuse, coupled with risk reduction counseling especially among women prescribed ART are important clinical practices in treating women with HIV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethanol / poisoning
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Louisiana
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Partners
  • Unsafe Sex*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Ethanol