The surprising risk factor in HIV transmission. Are you safe?

Role of Alcohol in HIV transmission, Health Network News

Having unsafe sex is a risk factor in HIV transmission. Find out why below

SUMMARY: You might not think of sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol as a risk factor for HIV infection. Learn why having sex while not sober is dangerous.

HIV can be spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. The best way to prevent infection with HIV is to use a condom every time you have sex.

But even a careful person can be inconsistent with condom use when alcohol or drug use is involved – getting into a situation where safe sex is practiced incorrectly or not at all. In fact, sober sex is so important that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation lists sober sex as a preventative step in avoiding HIV infection.

Why sober sex is important in preventing HIV transmission

Having sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to the following unsafe sexual situations:

  • Not using a condom
  • Using a condom incorrectly
  • Having sex with multiple partners

In addition to the above, substance abuse can also increase your sexual AND drug-use risk factors for HIV transmission (such as injecting drugs instead of smoking/snorting or sharing needles)

How to get tested for HIV if you use drugs or alcohol

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that people who engage in high-risk behaviors such as unsafe sex and IV-drug use, get tested for HIV at least once a year. Here’s what you need to know:

HIV testing is covered by most insurance

The Affordable Care Act covers the cost of HIV tests without deductibles and co-pays for people age 15-65 (as well as younger, high-risk people).

Find a confidential testing location

To find a testing center in your area, call 1-800-458-5231 or use the confidential testing locator.

Us an at-home testing kit

If you choose to use an at-home test kit, make sure it has been FDA approved. Currently, two testing kits are approved by the FDA:

  1. OraQuick In-Home HIV Test
  2. Home Access HIV-1 Test System

Condom use is so important to prevent HIV transmission that it is essential to know how to use one properly. Watch this video to to ensure correct use: How to put on a condom.

Sources: AIDS Healthcare Foundation and

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