Unsafe sexual behaviours
Alcohol use can lead to risky and unsafe sexual behaviours. When people drink too much, it can affect their decision making, like not using condoms. This puts them at greater risk of sexually transmitted infections and getting pregnant when they are not ready.
Unprotected sex can lead to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like:
- Bacterial STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis)
- Viral STIs (HIV, HPV, hepatitis B, herpes)
- Parasitic STIs (trichomonas, scabies, pubic lice)
Nunavut now has a syphilis rate that is more than 15 times the national rate. It was reported in 2013 that three-quarters of syphilis cases in Nunavut involved alcohol and/or drug use. In addition, heavy drinkers are more likely to get HIV. Practicing safer sex is an important part of preventing the spread of syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Further, sex can involve a high level of risk when heavy alcohol use is involved. Consent for any sexual activity must be freely given and consent cannot be given by someone who is drunk or unconscious. When a person forces unwanted sexual activity on another person without their consent, through force or threats, this is sexual assault and is a crime.
For more information, visit your local health centre or visit www.irespectmyself.ca.