Binge drinking and drug use is causing a rise in sexual health clinic attendance. Sexual health clinics have seen a rise in attendance from people who had unprotected sex whilst under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Dr Ushan Andrady, a sexual health and HIV consultant, said:

“We have definitely seen a rise in people coming into the clinic after having sex whilst under the influence of drugs and alcohol.”

He added that people were unaware of the risks associated with having unprotected sex whilst intoxicated. [1] Drugs and alcohol lower inhibitions, stimulate arousal, and create a sense of euphoria. This often leads to risky sexual behaviour. [2]

Substance abuse is the leading risk factor when it comes to passing on sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. People who abuse alcohol are more likely to contract HIV than non-drinkers. This is because alcohol impairs judgment which can lead to your participation in risky activities such as unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, or drug use. Binge drinking women were more likely to have multiple partners, and also suffered from Gonorrhoea at five times the rate of their sober counterparts. [2]

Binge drinkers need to increase their awareness of STI prevention and the negative impact of having unprotected sex whilst under the influence. [3] You should always use a condom for any sexual contact. You are also advised to get tested for STIs regularly, especially if you had unprotected sex with someone whose sexual history is unknown to you. [2]

Sexually Transmitted Infections: what are STIs and how do I get them?

STIs can be caused by bacteria or viruses. You can get an STI through unprotected sex with a person who is infected. This includes vaginal, anal or oral sex. STIs can also be passed from person to person through skin-to-skin contact. [4]

Could I have an STI and not know?

Yes. In some cases, you could have been infected with an STI and not know. Symptoms are not always present. So, you will not know you have been affected. There is also a chance you miss the signs of an infection, as they may only last a short period of time. Even if you experience no symptoms of an STI, you can still pass on the infection to others. The only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested. Untreated STIs can cause infertility and other serious issues with your long-term health. [5]

If you are suffering from any symptoms, you should book an STI test or screen at your earliest convenience. These can include [4]:

  • Sores, cuts, warts, ulcers or blisters around genital or anal areas
  • Itching, redness or swelling around genital or anal areas
  • Pain when urinating
  • Genital or rectal discomfort
  • Unusual discharge from the vagina or penis
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sore throat
  • Pain during sex

When and how often should I get tested?

You should get tested every year for STIs. You may decide to get tested more regularly depending on your personal risk factor, which includes sexual behaviour. For example, if you never use a condom or if you have more sexual partners, you are at higher risk of an STI. Proper use of a condom lowers your risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection. [6]

If you are concerned about a recent incident, or are worried about your sexual health more generally, Better2Know can help you arrange next-day or same-day appointments throughout the UK. Your private appointment is completely confidential. You can remain anonymous if this makes you feel more comfortable with getting tested.

Where can I get tested for STIs?

Better2Know’s private sexual health clinics are available throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Conveniently situated in various locations including:

  • London
  • Edinburgh
  • Cardiff
  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Glasgow
  • Manchester
  • Liverpool
  • Leeds
  • Aberdeen
  • Southampton
  • Swansea

Please use Better2Know’s Clinic Finder to locate your nearest private STI clinic in the UK. Or, you can contact our experienced sexual health advisors who will help you find the STI clinic nearest to you, and arrange your confidential appointment for a time and date that suits you.

Better2Know’s Confidential STI Testing Services

Better2Know’s private STI clinics provide a wide range of STI tests and screens that target your sexual health concerns. You can get tested for a variety of sexually transmitted infections including:

  • HIV
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Herpes I/II
  • Syphilis
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • HPV/Genital Warts
  • Mycoplasma
  • Trichomonas
  • Ureaplasma
  • Gardnerella
  • Zika

If you are unsure which STI test or screen to choose, your Better2Know advisor can also help you select the STI testing option that is most suitable for your personal circumstances. Our dedicated advisors will advise an incubation period for some STI tests or screens. This is the time between an incident of concerns and your STI test. This ensures accurate results. You may decide to test before the period of incubation has passed, though the accuracy of your confidential STI results could be reduced.

Book Your Anonymous STI Test with Better2Know Today

Phone Better2Know’s expert sexual health advisors now on the number above to organise your private appointment at one of our STI clinics in the UK. Our team of friendly advisors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you. You can also use Better2Know’s online booking system to arrange your confidential and anonymous STI test at any time. Simply select the orange Book Now button at the top of the page to take control of your sexual health today.


[1] BBC: Rise in Sex While on Drugs Prompts Health Warning

[2] STDcheck: STD Risks: Sex, Drugs, & Alcohol

[3] National Center for Biotechnology Information: STI-protective self-efficacy and binge drinking in a sample of university students in the United Kingdom

[4] Sexually Transmitted Infections

[5] SmartSexResource: STIs101

[6] Everyday Health: STDs: what are they and who gets them?

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