In what may seem like an obvious conclusion, researchers have found that:
Alcohol consumption affects decision-making, and that this impact rises with the amount of alcohol consumed. The more alcohol that participants consumed, the higher their willingness to engage in unsafe sex.
This study published in the journal Addiction is the first of its kind to go beyond correlation to find that alcohol directly causes a higher willingness to engage in unsafe sex.
In their experiments, study participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups in which they either consumed alcohol or did not. Then their intention to engage in unsafe sex was measured. An increase in blood alcohol level of 0.1 mg/mL resulted in an increase of 5% in the indicated likelihood of engaging in unprotected sex.
Because unsafe sex is a leading cause of HIV infection, the researchers hope that this study will affect HIV prevention programs, focusing on social and heavy drinking.