Introduction: Previous research has primarily focused on the relationship between illicit drug use and HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk behavior among African-American women. Very few studies have solely reviewed the role of alcohol use on risky sexual behavior. The present study examined the relationship between alcohol use at non-abuse levels and risky sexual behaviors and STIs among young adult African-American women.
Methods: Eight hundred forty-eight African American women, ages 18 to 29, participated at baseline, with 669 and 673 women at 6 and 12 months follow-up, respectively. Participants completed an Audio Computer Assisted Survey Interview assessing sociodemographics, alcohol use, and risky sexual behaviors. Subsequently, participants provided two vaginal swab specimens for STIs.
Results: Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted for cross-sectional analyses, with illicit drug use as a covariate. Women who consumed alcohol were more likely to have multiple partners and risky partners. Binary generalized estimating equation models assessed the impact of alcohol use at baseline on risky sexual behavior and STIs over a 12-month period. Illicit drug use, intervention group, and baseline outcome measures were entered as covariates. Alcohol consumption predicted positive results for chlamydia, positive results for any STI, and never using a condom with a casual partner over a 12-month follow-up period.
Discussion: Frequency of alcohol use at non-abuse levels was correlated with and predicted risky sexual behaviors and STIs. Prevention programs for African-American women should incorporate education regarding the link between alcohol and HIV/STI risk behaviors and the potential negative health consequences.
Published by Elsevier Inc.