Alcohol use and high-risk sexual behavior in Sub-Saharan Africa: a narrative review

Arch Sex Behav. 2011 Feb;40(1):17-42. doi: 10.1007/s10508-009-9516-4. Epub 2009 Aug 25.


Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) contains 10% of the world's population and 60% of all people living with AIDS. Consequently, research investigating risk factors associated with HIV acquisition is a public health priority and one such risk factor is alcohol consumption. This article is a review of empirical studies on the association of alcohol and high-risk sexual behavior in SSA, with a focus on measurable outcomes generated from quantitative data. A critique of the literature is provided, with attention to methodological concerns. Empirically based theoretical orientations were used to interpret the reviewed research and to stimulate discussion about how to improve the state of the current literature. Based on this discussion, a model of alcohol and high-risk sexual behavior in an African context is proposed in order to integrate the existing literature and highlight areas in need of continued research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Comorbidity
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Education / organization & administration
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology
  • Social Values
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data