The more people drink and the more sex partners they have, the less likely they are to engage with an HIV prevention program. Publishing their findings in Psychology Health & Medicine, investigators designed a correlational field study of 350 people at high risk for acquiring HIV.

Those participants who drank no alcohol and who had few sex partners were the most likely to accept an invitation to participate in HIV prevention counseling. There was a link between heavy drinking and lessened exposure to such counseling, regardless of how many sex partners a participant had.

“Interventions that jointly target [the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs] and alcohol use are effective for STI risk reduction. However, such programs will be unlikely to reach their potential public health impact if target audiences do not enroll,” the authors wrote. “Understanding barriers to enrollment may be helpful for practitioners at clinics that are interested in making HIV prevention more appealing to target audiences. As our findings indicated that heavy drinkers were unwilling to enroll in HIV-prevention counseling, finding ways to reduce enrollment barriers among this group could serve a vital public health function.”

To read the press release, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.