A recent study coming out of John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore found women who binge drink are more likely to have unsafe sex and contract sexually transmitted diseases. Binge drinking is defined as having more than 5 alcoholic drinks at one sitting.
Researchers found that women who binge drink are at increased risk of practicing unsafe sex, such as having multiple partners and engaging in anal sex, leading to high rates of gonorrhea.
Geetanjali Chander, assistant professor of medicine in the general internal medicine division at the school, didn’t find the results too surprising. According to Chander, “Initially, some individuals may drink with the expectation of decreasing inhibitions, or some may drink because they are anxious or depressed, and they expect alcohol to alleviate their symptoms. Regardless of why they choose to drink, many people do not perceive the potential risk or harm that may result from binge drinking.”
Heidi Hutton, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the medical school and an author of the study, noted that STD clinics should regularly screen its patients for binge drinking. “While it is standard practice in most STD clinics to discuss behavioral factors for STD risk, binge drinkers may be harder to identify than alcohol-dependent individuals because the latter have more obvious impairment of function.”
The findings came from interviews from mostly African-American patients at an urban clinic for sexually transmitted infections. The study will be published in the November issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
From Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research – The Relationship Between Recent Alcohol Use and Sexual Behaviors: Gender Differences Among Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic Patients