Alcohol Use and Associations With Biological Markers and Self-Reported Indicators of Unprotected Sex in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Positive Female Sex Workers in Mombasa, Kenya.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Sexually transmitted diseases, Volume 43, Issue 10, p.642-7 (2016)


BACKGROUND: Studies of alcohol use and sexual behavior in African populations have primarily been cross-sectional, used nonvalidated measures of alcohol use, or relied on self-reported sexual risk endpoints. Few have focused on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive women.

METHODS: Longitudinal data were collected from a cohort of HIV-positive Kenyan female sex workers. At enrollment and annual visits, participants were asked about past-year alcohol use using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). The primary endpoint was detection of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in vaginal secretions at quarterly examinations. Associations between hazardous/harmful alcohol use (AUDIT score ≥7), PSA detection, and secondary measures of sexual risk were evaluated using generalized estimating equations with a log binomial regression model.

RESULTS: A total of 405 women contributed 2750 vaginal samples over 606 person-years of follow-up. Hazardous/harmful alcohol use was reported at 16.6% of AUDIT assessments and was associated with higher risk of PSA detection (relative risk 1.50; 95% confidence interval, 1.11-2.01) relative to no alcohol use. This association was attenuated and no longer statistically significant, after adjusting for age, work venue, intimate partner violence, depression, and partnership status (adjusted relative risk, 1.13; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-1.56). In exploratory analyses, alcohol use was associated with self-report of unprotected sex and with sexually transmitted infection acquisition.

CONCLUSIONS: Although hazardous/harmful alcohol use was not associated with detection of PSA in adjusted analysis, associations with secondary outcomes suggest that alcohol use is at least a marker of sexual risk behavior.