How Alcohol Increases the Risk of STDs

Heavy alcohol consumption causes risky sexual behaviors. 60% of the younger population avoid using contraception, prefer to change multiple partners, and have unprotected anal intercourse when under the influence. 

Alcohol is one of the most highly consumed drugs on the planet among the younger population. In fact, adolescents are two times more likely to use alcohol than any other drug.

“The connection between heavy drinking and risky sexual actions is complex,” stated the assistant professor Heidi E. Hutton for the Clinical & Experimental Research on binge drinking. 

Based on the results, heavy drinking increases the risk of contracting STDs. Many of the people who result in drinking expect it to help alleviate their depression and anxiety, soothe tension, boost their sexual performance, or help them become more daring and adventurous. 

However, alcohol reduces their ability to make rational decisions, which predisposes both women and men to engage in unprotected intercourse. The chemical compound of alcohol also impairs the immune system, making it more difficult to prevent and STD infection. Regardless of why individuals choose alcohol, many are unaware of the potential risks that come with it. 

Heavy Drinking Affects the Body’s Resistance to STDs

Heavy drinking impairs the body’s antiviral immune response, particularly in the liver. This includes the response to any STDs, even HIV and HCV (Hepatitis C). 

Drinking regularly to get intoxicated significantly decreases the functionality of the immune system, making it more vulnerable to the flu, viruses, and many diseases, including STDs. The more alcohol the system has, the more difficult it will be to fight it off. 

Alcohol also impacts STD treatment, making the infections progress a lot faster than it normally would. Since the compounds in alcohol can result in brain damage, it can cause diseases, such as AIDS to be a lot more difficult to deal with.

Alcohol Amplifies the Risk of STDs

Risky sexual actions and alcohol are a serious problem for young adults. When people are under the influence, they have a higher chance of contracting STDs and HIV then non-drinkers. 

Whether they use alcohol to alleviate depression, anxiety, stress, relax, or increase sexual arousal, it can have some serious consequences to their sexual health. One of the most common problems is not using a condom during intercourse. 

Failure to use condoms when intoxicated accounted for 89.3% of the newly reported cases of HIV infections in 2009. Condoms not only protect individuals from STDs, but they also shield them from unwanted pregnancies. 

Condom use highly depends on the individual — people who always use condoms when sober are more likely to use a condom when intoxicated. The likelihood of them using a condom heavily depends on their mindset, contextual, and situational factors. If they are determined to use a condom, they will use it no matter how much they are under the influence. But, if the situation makes it more difficult and less convenient, then they will find it much easier to avoid using contraceptives altogether simply.  

Statistics show that women who drink to get intoxicated are two times more likely to engage in unprotected anal sex than when they are sober. 40.5% of the women that drink heavily reported changing multiple sexual partners, compared to the 16.8% of women that reported having multiple partners when they abstained from drinking. 

Women Are More At Risk of STDs Than Man After Drinking

If men and women were to drink the same dose of alcohol, women would have a much higher dose of alcohol concentration in their system compared to men. The anatomical structures are what make women move vulnerable to STDs than men. 

They are more likely to experience alcohol-caused liver diseases, heart problems, and health complications. Heavy drinking exposes women to memory loss, brain shrinkage, possible heart muscle damage, cancer, and more.

They also have a higher possibility of transmitting the STDs to their sexual partner. These consequences have a more dramatic impact in the long-term, especially if the infected woman is pregnant. The longer these infections are left to manifest in the system, the more serious the health complications will be; this includes infertility and perinatal death. 

Men, in general, have a lot more body mass than women, which makes them less prone to becoming intoxicated. 

Sexual Assault and Drinking

Heavy drinking is a major risk for sexual assault, particularly for young women. Every year, around 1 to 20 women in college are sexually assaulted, and in 81% of cases, the perpetrator and the victim have consumed alcohol prior to the attack. 

If a woman has been intoxicated, there is a much higher possibility that she will become a victim of sexual assault. This type of sexual encounter highly increases the risk of contracting STDs. 


Statistics show that 38% of women and 49% of men have sex under the influence of alcohol.

High level of alcohol makes individuals blackout, in which stage they have little to no control over their brain. All the actions they would consciously be thinking and doing will be mostly forgotten the next morning. 

Intoxication makes individuals partake in activities they would otherwise avoid when sober; this includes having unprotected sex, exposing themselves to STDs, and becoming vulnerable to predators. 

For many individuals, alcohol is the main reason they decide to leave with a stranger at the club. In moments such as these, people often make the wrong decisions with their state of mind and are less likely to be concerned with their sexual health or the consequences that come with it.  

The likelihood of having unprotected intercourse with multiple partners drastically increases under the influence, which exposes people to STDs and HIV. If these diseases are not noticed on time, it can have a serious impact on their health with potentially life-threatening consequences. Practicing safe sex is the only way to prevent the onset of STDs.