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Is There an Association Between Alcohol Consumption and Sexually Transmitted Diseases? A Systematic Review

Cook, Robert L. MD, MPH*; Clark, Duncan B. MD, PhD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: March 2005 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 156-164
doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000151418.03899.97
Article

Objective/Goal: The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review of published literature on the association between problematic alcohol consumption and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Design: Using a MEDLINE search (1995–2003) and article references, we identified articles that described measures of alcohol consumption and STDs and presented data on their association. For each eligible study, we classified the alcohol consumption measure as specific (problem drinking) or general, and examined study designs, study populations, STD measures, and results.

Results: Of 42 eligible studies, 11 included specific measures of problem drinking, of which 8 found a significant association between alcohol consumption and at least 1 STD. The relationship did not appear to vary according to gender or pattern of alcohol consumption assessed.

Conclusions: The literature supports an overall association between problematic alcohol consumption and STDs, although their causal relationship cannot be determined with certainty from these observational studies. The findings have implications for prevention planners, clinicians, and individual patients at risk of STDs.

A systematic review of the literature supports an overall association between problematic alcohol consumption and sexually transmitted diseases, although questions of causality persist.

From the Departments of *Medicine and †Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

This work was supported by federal grants K23AA00303, K02AA0029, and R01DA14635s from the National Institutes of Health.

Correspondence: Robert L. Cook, MD, MPH, 230 McKee Place, Suite 600, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. E-mail cookrl@upmc.edu.

Received for publication April 21, 2004, and accepted September 9, 2004.

© Copyright 2005 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association