Patterns of alcohol use and sexual behaviors among current drinkers in Cape Town, South Africa

SOURCE: Addictive Behaviors
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2012
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.A.J.Scott-Sheldon, M.P.Carey, K.B.Carey, D.Cain, O.Harel, V.Mehlomakulu, K.Mwaba, L.C.Simbayi, S.C.Kalichman
KEYWORDS: ALCOHOL USE, CAPE TOWN, RISK BEHAVIOUR, SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR
DEPARTMENT: HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB (HAST)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7297

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Abstract

This study examined the association between alcohol use and sexual behaviors among South African adults who reported current drinking. Street-intercept surveys were administered to adults residing in neighbourhoods in a South African township. Analyses were restricted to participants reporting current drinking (N=1285; mean age=32; 27% women; 98% Black). Most participants (60%) reported heavy episodic drinking (i.e., 5 or more drinks on a single occasion) at least once per week in the past 30 days. Compared to non-heavy episodic drinkers, participants who reported heavy episodic drinking were more likely to drink before sex (79% vs. 66%) and have sex with a partner who had been drinking (59% vs. 44%). Overall, drinking before sex (self or partner) and heavy episodic drinking was associated with multiple sexual partners, discussing condom use with sexual partner(s), and proportion of protected sex. The frequency of condom use varied among participants with steady, casual, or both steady and casual sexual partners. Alcohol use among South African adults is associated with sexual risk behaviors, but this association differs by partner type. Findings suggest the need to strengthen alcohol use components in sexual risk reduction interventions especially for participants with both steady and casual sex partners.