Hold onto your hats and try to stay with me here. A new (probably expensive) study is reporting that alcohol effects decision making, and a person’s level of risky sexual behavior INCREASES AS MORE ALCOHOL IS CONSUMED!! OMG!! They’ve finally cracked the code!! Up until now, I thought that it was just a coincidence that people engaged in all form of tomfoolery when they drank, but apparently I was wrong – there’s a link!
The study was created to explore the link between unsafe sex, HIV and drinking and will be published in the January 2012 edition of Addiction. Here’s how the study was structured (from medicalnewstoday.com):
The study participants were randomly assigned to 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 5.0% (95% CI: 2.8% – 7.1%) in the indicated likelihood of engaging in unprotected sex. This result remained stable in sensitivity analyses aimed to correct for a potential publication bias.
The principal investigator for the study was Dr. J. Rehm (or as I like to call him, Doctor Obvious), and he had this bombshell to drop:
“Drinking has a causal effect on the likelihood to engage in unsafe sex, and thus should be included as a major factor in preventive efforts for HIV … This result also helps explain why people at risk often show this behavior despite better knowledge: alcohol is influencing their decision processes.”
My favorite part of the article from Medical News Today was this tidbit:
It’s probably not widely considered by the general public that drinking can inhibit sensible sexual habits and put a person more at risk of HIV/AIDS infection. Thus, public awareness campaigns and prevention programs should shift their focus slightly as a result of the study.
Riiight. Unless you went to college. OR ever sipped a beer.
I think the next stage in this important research is to see if beer goggles are real, and if alcohol actually effects someone’s ability to see, or (and I’m just shooting from the hip here) that drinking copious amounts of beer leads to men and women lowering their mating standards in order to give into their sexual urges while their impulse control is compromised. Nah – I bet the beer just makes stuff blurry! I guess we won’t know until Important Scientific Research is conducted to confirm the cause and effect, as common sense is obviously not to be trusted.
Thanks, Science. What would we do without you?