Link between substance abuse and condom use explored

New research has demonstrated there may be a link between substance abuse and a decrease in the likelihood of sexual partners using condoms.

A study by scientists at the Miriam Hospital - a member hospital of the Lifespan health system in Rhode Island, US - returned two key findings. Firstly, there was an association between alcohol consumption and a decrease in condom use among girls of university age, while those who smoked marijuana with romantic partners were also less likely to use this form of protection.

Published online in the Journal of Sex Research, the findings may cause some young adults to become more aware of situations in which they may be statistically less likely to use condoms - and therefore react by making a concerted effort to do so.

"Our study provides new information about condom use and substance use with specific subtypes of sexual partners," added lead author Dr Jennifer Walsh from the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at the Miriam Hospital.

The findings not only highlighted trends concerning alcohol and marijuana consumption, but also patterns of condom use depending on subtypes of sexual partners - for example, ex-boyfriends versus total strangers.

"Differences between types of sexual partners suggest the value of detailed assessments of partner types, and future research should consider categorising sexual partners in a similar manner," the expert added.