Heavy Drinkers More Likely to Get Sex Diseases

Heavy drinkers were more than twice as likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the past year than young adults who abstained from alcohol, according to a new (2007) study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Substance Use report found that 3.1 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds who reported heavy drinking in the past month had contracted a STD in the past year, compared to 1.4 percent of youths who did not drink in the past month.

The study also found that 3.9 percent of youths who used alcohol and illicit drugs in the past month had contracted a STD in the past year. Youths who used any amount of alcohol or other drugs in the past month had an STD infection rate of 2.1 percent.

In the general population of those age 12 or older, the reported STD rate was 0.8 percent. STD infection was highest among 18 to 25-year-olds, at 2.1 percent. In this age group, women were four times as likely as men to report an STD infection. Among female heavy drinkers, the STD rate rose to 7.9 percent, compared to 1.3 percent of male heavy drinkers.

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