Substance use has been identified as one of the leading factors related to HIV transmission in the United States. The association of problematic drinking with sexual risk behavior puts individuals at greater risk for HIV transmission. This may be of particular concern for women given that approximately 66% of new HIV infections occurring through heterosexual transmission are female.
To investigate alcohol use severity and sexual risk behavior among females who use heavy, illicit drugs.
Female substances users (N = 251; Mage = 31.90, SD = 7.67; 63.7% Black) self-reported past month alcohol use and lifetime sexual risk behaviors with both casual and steady sex partners.
Problematic alcohol users were more likely to use noninjection drugs and less likely to use injection drugs than abstainers and more likely than moderate alcohol users to use alcohol before/during sex with a steady partner. White problematic alcohol users were less likely to use injection drugs before/during sex with a steady partner than abstainers. Black problematic alcohol users were more likely to use non-injection and alcohol than moderate alcohol users before/during sex with steady partners.
The current study extends the existing literature by taking a closer look at the role of alcohol use severity in sexual risk taking behavior of Black and White female substance users, a particularly vulnerable group for HIV transmission.