STD Rates: Alcohol, Drug Use Linked
People who abuse alcohol and illicit drugs may be at higher risk for contracting a sexually transmitted
disease (STD), according to Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Substance Use, a new report from
Based on data from the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the report showed
that having an STD in the past year was more common among 18- to 25-year-olds than any other age
Rates were especially high among people age 18 to 25 who used both alcohol and an illicit
drug in the past month (3.9 percent) compared to those who used neither alcohol nor an illicit
drug (1.3 percent), those who used alcohol alone (2.1 percent), and those who used an illicit
drug without alcohol (2.1 percent).
People age 12 and older were surveyed about their use of alcohol and illicit drugs and whether
they had been told by a doctor in the past year that they had a sexually transmitted disease,
including chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, or syphilis. HIV/AIDS data was collected separately and
not included in this report. About 2 million people reported that they had been diagnosed with
an STD in the past year.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Substance Use is available for download at www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k7/STD/STD.pdf.
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