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How are Alcohol and STDs Linked?

Anyone who’s consumed alcohol knows that one of its effects is lowered inhibitions. There are things people normally wouldn’t say or do that happen under the influence of alcohol.

Unfortunately, sexual behaviors can be affected by alcohol use, leaving women and men more vulnerable to STDs.

As part of Alcohol Awareness Month, TEST SMARTLY LABS is sharing the details on how alcohol use affects sexual habits and STD rates.

Alcohol & STDs

Why Does Alcohol Have an Affect on Sexual Habits?

Research has shown that both males and females are more likely to participate in causal sexual encounters when under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol use lowers our inhibitions when it comes to sexual habits. It can also affect our perceptions of attractiveness and our judgment, increasing the likelihood of casual, unprotected sex. In one 2006 study, 65% of respondents indicated that drugs or alcohol were involved in their most recent casual sex encounters.

STDs & Alcohol Use TEST SMARTLY LABS | How are Alcohol and STDs Linked?

As sexual inhibitions are lowered with alcohol use, people are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors that can result in STDs, including:

  • Taking on multiple casual sexual partners without knowing their sexual health or history: engaging with multiple sex partners can put you at increased risk for STDs if you are not fully aware of their sexual history and current sexual health. Alcohol use doubles young adults’ risk of having multiple sex partners.
  • Having oral,vaginal,or anal sex without a condom: according to a 2007 study, young adults under the influence of alcohol were 7 times more likely to have unprotected sex. 23% indicated that they’d had unprotected sex in the past due to alcohol or drug use.
  • Simultaneously engaging in substance abuse and sexual activity: drugs and alcohol can impair your immune system, making it more difficult for your body to fight off an STD.

Combating the Alcohol & STD Connection

Clearly, it’s important for people to consider how their alcohol use affects their chances of getting STDs. Here are some quick tips for lowering STD risk when consuming alcohol:

  • Know your limits. Don’t consume too much alcohol in an hour. The best way to avoid STD risk when under the influence is to limit alcohol consumption so that you don’t lose control of your behaviors.
  • Carry protection. If you do decide to have consensual sex while under the influence, using a condom will help protect you and your partner from STDs.
  • Get tested frequently. Getting tested for STDs before and after sexual encounters will help you stay updated on your sexual health. Located nationwide, TEST SMARTLY LABS offers quick, accurate, and confidential STD testing. To get started, find your nearest TEST SMARTLY LABS today!
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