Sex & Drugs
Getting High: How drugs and Alcohol impact HIV
People use drugs and alcohol for many reasons. Some people use drugs and other substances to have fun, dance and loosen inhibitions. Others use them to escape their problems and to counter feelings of depression or anxiety.
The reason drugs and alcohol present a potential HIV risk is because they can lower inhibitions, impair judgment, increase sexual endurance and encourage sexual risk-taking. HIV infection is not caused by substance use but by unsafe sexual behavior.
The risk for HIV occurs mainly when drug and alcohol use occurs during sexual activity. Drugs are also dehydrating, which may make men and women more prone to tears in the anus, vagina or mouth, and therefore more prone to HIV/STD infections.
It is estimated that half of all new HIV infections in the US are occurring among injection drug users (IDUs). For women, 61% of all AIDS cases are due to injection drug use or sex with partners who inject drugs.