Alcohol is a recognized risk factor for sexually transmitted diseases acquisition, but the mechanism is unclear. Potentially, adolescents using alcohol in the 2 hours before sex (in-the-moment use) have riskier sexual partners.Methods
We used multivariable logistic regression to examine the association between in-the-moment alcohol use and partner risk characteristics reported for the most recent sex among primarily 17- to 18-year-old adolescents originally recruited from a representative sample of Chicago public elementary schools. We created 3 composite partner risk profiles: partner familiarity risk (casual and unexpected), partner context risk (age discordance and met in public), and overall risk using all measures except partner alcohol use.Results
Teens who reported any in-the-moment alcohol use were more likely than nondrinking teens to report casual (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 3.2; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 2.1–4.9), unexpected (AOR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0–2.5), age discordant (AOR, 3.0; 95% CI, 2.0–4.6), or met in public partners (AOR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.0 to 2.1). For each composite measure, the number of partner risk characteristics reported increased linearly with the percent of teens drinking in the moment (Cochran-Armitage trend, P < 0.0001). Compared with zero characteristics, in-the-moment alcohol use was associated with increased odds of reporting 1 (AOR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.7–4.5), 2 (AOR, 4.6; 95% CI, 2.7, 7.6), or 3 to 4 characteristics (AOR, 7.1; 95% CI, 3.3–15.3).Conclusions
Our findings expand the link between in-the-moment alcohol use and partner risk reported in prior studies to encompass adolescents' general sexual experiences and additional partner characteristics including the highly associated composite characteristics.