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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2007;33(5):687-98.

Frequency, quantity, and contextual use of alcohol among sexually transmitted infection clinic patients in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA.


Alcohol use is prevalent in South Africa and alcohol use may be associated with higher risk for HIV transmission. This article reports a study of the association between alcohol use and HIV risk-related behavior among 614 men and 157 women receiving sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic services in Cape Town, South Africa. Participants completed anonymous surveys of demographic information, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors. Results for men showed that drinking in sexual contexts as well as their partner's drinking were related to higher rates of unprotected intercourse. However, the number of sex partners men reported was only associated with their own use of alcohol before sex. In contrast, women's partners drinking before sex was related to higher frequencies of unprotected intercourse, but it was their own drinking before sex that was related to women's number of sex partners. Results therefore suggest that the context of alcohol use is more closely related to sexual risks than are the quantity or frequency of use. Interventions are needed that integrate HIV risk reduction with alcohol risk reduction in South Africa.

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