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Binge-drinking linked to greater sexual health risk in women

Binge-drinking linked to greater sexual health risk in women
Women who binge drink are more likely to engage in unsafe sex and endanger their sexual health, a new study has found.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine asked 322 men and 349 women who attended an STI clinic about their recent alcohol use and their sexual behaviours.

They found that female binge-drinkers were more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviours than men.

Within women, those who regularly drank excessive amounts of alcohol were three times as likely to have anal sex as non-drinkers; twice as likely to have multiple sexual partners; and five times as likely to have the STI gonorrhoea.

Geetanjali Chander, assistant professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, commented: "Binge-drinking results in a decreased ability to make clear decisions and can enable individuals to engage in behaviours that they would not if sober."

The expert said that some people drink to decrease their inhibitions, while others believe alcohol will alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression.

"Regardless of why they choose to drink, many people do not perceive the potential risk or harm that may result from binge-drinking," Dr Chander warned.

The findings are published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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Treatment news: 09/09/2008