One of the cause of poor decision making is alcohol or drug use. Like Antoine, some people only feel comfortable in social situations if they are using alcohol or drugs. Others may go to a social event not expecting to have a sexual encounter, but then cloud their judgment by drinking or using drugs and end up doing things they wouldn’t have done if they were sober. These contacts can be very risky for STD transmission. If a person engages in casual, unprotected sex with you, there is a good chance that he or she has engaged in casual, unprotected sex with others. Some people engage in such behavior over and over again, realizing they are putting themselves at risk but not feeling they can do anything about it. If you are in this situation, it is important to realize that you must get help for your drug or alcohol problem, and that only through overcoming your problem will you be able to have control over all your sexual encounters.

If you use injection drugs, get help for your addiction in a drug treatment program and absolutely never share your equipment with others. In some areas of the country, needle exchange programs are available. If you must share, disinfecting your equipment first with bleach may help decrease the risk of acquiring infection, but this is not a guarantee.

Finally, some people have a sexual addiction. They put themselves in dangerous situations over and over again—for example, choosing high-risk partners or engaging in risky anonymous sexual encounters with partners—despite recognizing the hazards involved. People who are putting themselves and possibly their partners at risk by such behavior may benefit from counseling to break this cycle and regain control over their lives.

Before moving on, it’s important to emphasize that people can leave behind high-risk lifestyles for safer ones. If a partner has a high-risk background but is not currently engaging in high-risk activity, and has had a full screen for STDs and been found free of infection, and if you and that partner are mutually monogamous, then you may feel more at ease with this partner.


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