Binge drinking and unsafe sex: a study of narcology hospital patients from St. Petersburg, Russia

Subst Abus. Jul-Sep 2009;30(3):213-22. doi: 10.1080/08897070903040923.


The purpose of this study was to assess the association between binge alcohol use and unprotected sex in Russian substance users. Participants (N = 181) were narcology hospital patients assessed on demographics, alcohol use, risky sex, and sexually transmitted disease/human immunodeficiency virus (STD/HIV) diagnoses. Adjusted generalized estimating equations (GEEs) logistic regression analysis examined the association between binge drinking and same-day unprotected sex across each of the past 30 days, per participant (N = 5430 observations). Participants were age 18 to 55 years, 75% male, and 64% binge drinking. Sex trade was reported by 27%; history of STDs by 43%; and HIV by 15%. One fourth of daily observations included sex; 88% of these involved unprotected sex. Binge drinking was not associated with same-day unprotected sex (adjusted odds ratio [OR(adj)] = 1.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.7-1.4, chi(2)(1, N = 5219) = 0.01, ns). Findings document substantial HIV/STD risk and prevalence among Russian narcology patients, but no link between binge drinking and unprotected sex in this population, possibly due to very low rates of condom use generally.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Drug Users / psychology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk-Taking
  • Russia
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / complications
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Unsafe Sex / drug effects*