Alcohol linked to sexual health issues

Health professionals are wasting opportunities to tackle alcohol misuse among young people with sexual health problems despite strong evidence linking the two, a new report warns.

Almost half of all sexually transmitted infections are diagnosed in 16 to 24-year-olds, who are also among the heaviest drinkers in the UK. People who drink heavily are most likely to have unprotected sex with multiple partners, according to Britain's national probability sex survey in 2009.

Research also shows that 20 per cent of white 14 and 15-year-old girls report "going further than intended" when drunk.

The Royal College of Physicians and British Association for Sexual Health and HIV are today calling for sexual health clinics to routinely provide information about safe drinking and extra support for those wishing to cut down. This, they say, should form part of the Government's alcohol strategy. Dr Janet Wilson, President-elect of BASHH, said: "Alcohol fuels risky sex so a sexual health check-up is the ideal time to broach the subject."

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