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Soc Sci Med. 1992 Apr;34(8):843-53.

Behavioral risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases in American households.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis 95616.


The analysis of a representative survey of households (n = 968) in a San Francisco Bay Area county provides strong evidence for the role of problem drinking as a risk factor for sexually transmitted diseases independent of drinking patterns and drug use. Among women, age, race, early age at first intercourse, history of multiple partners, drinking patterns, as well as current symptoms of problem drinking were all associated with reported STD rates. Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed, however, that female problem drinkers are nearly four and a half times more likely (adjusted O.R. = 4.65, 95% C.I. = 1.30, 16.70) than other women to have had STDs independent of all these potential risk factors. Problem drinking puts women at a greater risk for STDs than a history of multiple sex partners (adjusted O.R. = 2.75, 95% C.I. = 0.98, 7.75). This finding is also observed among men, among whom STDs were associated with a history of multiple sex partners (adjusted O.R. = 4.12, 95% C.I. = 1.90, 8.94) and the lifetime prevalence of drinking problems (adjusted O.R. = 4.95, 95% C.I. = 2.13, 11.50). Frequent bar-going, drunkenness episodes, high volume drinking, feeling disinhibited while drinking and drug use increase the risk for STDs via their effects on the rate of sex partner change. Problem drinking determines STD rates independent of these factors. The implications of these findings for future research and health policy are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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