Changes in sexual activity following substance dependence treatment

Individuals who abuse alcohol and other drugs are at increased risk for HIV/AIDS, although time of greatest risk is unclear. Although many studies have documented decreased sexual risk behaviors following substance abuse treatment, some evidence indicates that sexual risk behaviors may actually increase with sobriety.  In the current study, individuals involved in a substance abuse treatment program were asked about their sexual activity for the month prior to treatment and six months after treatment. Results showed higher levels of sexual activity, including risky sexual activity, six months after discharge from treatment.  This increase was found for individuals regardless of whether they were abstaining from substance use at follow-up, with highest levels of sexual activity and risky sexual activity reported by those still consuming alcohol or other drugs. These findings support the need for inclusion of HIV/AIDS prevention and educational programs during substance abuse treatment.

Keyword: HIV/AIDS, Sexual Risk Behaviors, Detoxification




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