Researchers in China have conducted a cross-sectional study on Chinese gay men between 2013 and 2014. The study was aimed to assess the risk of alcohol use with risky sexual behavior, that can lead to sexually transmitted diseases.
The research was conducted because recently alcohol misuse was linked with increased sexual and HIV/syphilis risks among Chinese gay men, emphasizing the need for implementing alcohol risk reduction programs in this population.
Chinese gay men who reported binge or hazardous drinking were more likely to be HIV-infected. Those who were at high risk of current alcohol dependence were more likely to be HIV or syphilis-infected.
A survey was conducted based on interview questions to collect data on socio-demographics, high risk behaviors, and alcohol use/misuse patterns which consisted of hazardous/binge drinking and risk of alcohol dependence in the last three months using Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C).
AUDIT-C score was defined as being greater or equal than 4 as recent hazardous drinkers, and drinking more than 5 standard drinks in a single sitting as recent binge drinkers. The results were published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Out of a total of 3,588 participants, 14.4% reported hazardous drinking, while 16.8% reported binge drinking. Hazardous and binge drinking are both linked with factors such as older age, being migrants, living for a long duration in Beijing, having an origin of township or village, being employed, having higher income, self-perceived low or no risk of HIV infection, and looking for sex other than on the internet.
Hazardous drinkers, compared to non-hazardous drinkers and binge drinkers compared to non-binge drinkers had a higher risk of using illicit drugs, drinking alcohol before indulging in sex, and have multiple sexual partnerships, pay for sex, and have condomless penetrative anal intercourse.
Few studies have used standardized alcohol misuse measures to assess relationships with sexual risk and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV/syphilis infections among gay Chinese men.
The researchers warned that alcohol use and misuse remains a critical challenge among Chinese men who have sex with men, while binge and hazardous drinking Chinese gay men are more likely to be involved in high-risk behaviors.
While binge and hazardous drinking Chinese gay men are associated with higher HIV risk, the researchers made an interesting observation that as AUDIT-C score increased, the risk of HIV or syphilis infection also increased.
This relation might be due to the fact that alcohol suppresses mental cognition and brain’s processing capabilities, which could explain why the Chinese gay men were more likely to be involved in risky and sexually promiscuous behavior.
As they were likely to have more sex, they were more likely to catch an STD. The harmful use of alcohol is an originating factor in more than 200 diseases and injury conditions, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Its production, availability and ease of access varies from country to country and depends on the relevant rules and regulations set by the responsible governing bodies.
Previous studies have shown unorthodox methods of reducing alcohol use, especially symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
According to a recently published report in the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP), released at the annual meeting of American Psychiatry Association (APA) held in Atlanta, there is a strong link between marriage and alcohol use disorder (AUD). The study found that marriage reduces the risk of developing alcohol use disorder.
The researchers observed that compared to individuals who were single, individuals who are married have a substantially reduced likelihood of suffering from AUD. This reduction in the risk of developing AUD was significantly found in both genders: married men showed a 60% reduction while married women had a 71% reduction in the likelihood of developing AUD.
To promote healthy functions and reduce alcohol related risk, a recent study also looked at the effects of alcohol on brain, which led them to discovery of a drug that can help minimize binge drinking and symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder, which targets brain regions most active during stress, as an effort to reduce alcohol consumption
The study was conducted by researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). It also found that a drug called ABT-436 also reduced patients’ craving for cigarettes.
Researchers, led by acting director of the Division of Medications Development, NIAAA, Dr Ray Litten, conducted a randomized clinical trial of the ABT-436 drug, designed to block the effects of vasopressin, a neuropeptide produced in the hypothalamus of the brain that increases blood pressure.
The results of the trials showed that individuals who received ABT-436 treatment underwent more days of alcohol abstinence than those who received the placebo pills.
Participants who reported high stress levels appeared to respond better to the drug. What this meant was that both the frequency of their drinking and the number of heavy drinking sessions they experienced had reduced.