A growing body of epidemiological and social science research, much of it conducted in developing countries experiencing severe HIV epidemics, suggests that alcohol consumption is associated with the sexual behaviors that put people at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (Cook and Clark 2005; Kalichman et al. 2007b). This scientific evidence provides a compelling call to action. In countries battling severe HIV epidemics, addressing harmful drinking in conjunction with interventions to reduce sexual risk behavior may have the potential to reduce HIV transmission more quickly than conventional HIV prevention interventions alone.
The development of effective programs to reduce alcohol-related sexual risk behavior is still in its infancy. This technical brief reviews available evidence on new and innovative programs in this emerging area. Specifically, the brief provides: 1) a summary of up-to-date information on what is known about the relationship between harmful alcohol use and HIV sexual risk behavior and 2) a critical analysis of intervention programs currently being used to address the issue. This brief was developed to assist program planners and implementers in designing HIV prevention interventions that address harmful alcohol use as a risk factor for HIV. It has been informed by a review of the published literature on alcohol and HIV, the AIDSTAROne database of good and promising programmatic practices, and interviews with experts in the field of alcohol and HIV prevention.