Drugs, alcohol and sexual health: opportunities to influence risk behaviour

BMC Res Notes. 2008 Jun 18;1:27. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-1-27.


Background: Alcohol and drug consumption can affect judgment and may contribute towards an increased likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behaviour. In this cross sectional survey of clients attending STI services levels of drug and alcohol use were assessed using two standardised drug and alcohol screening instruments (the PAT and the SDS).

Findings: The rates of hazardous alcohol consumption were similar to those found among patients attending A&E departments. Approximately 15% of clients indicated possible dependence on alcohol or other drugs, and these clients were likely to cite their substance use as related to their attendance, and to accept the offer of help or advice.

Conclusion: The use of brief screening instruments as part of routine clinical practice is recommended. The STI clinic is well placed to identify substance use and to offer advice and/or onward referral to specialist services.