Drugs and Alcohol – What do I need to know?


Alcohol can cause you to make decisions you normally wouldn’t. It may make you more likely to have unprotected sex, which can cause you to get a sexually transmitted infection or even become pregnant. When you’re drunk, you’re less likely to use a condom or discuss condoms with a partner. If you do use one, you’re less likely to use it properly and increase your risk of STIs and pregnancy.

Alcohol can also make you feel ill, confused or upset. None of these are good sensations when it comes to having sex. You are also more likely to have sex and not remember it, or you may have sex with somebody when you really didn’t want to.

Being drunk can make you more vulnerable to sexual assault. This can happen to anybody. If you have had sex and you didn’t want to, you can access support from our in-house sexual assault support service.

Further information on Concerned about sexual assault?

If you’re taking the contraceptive pill and you drink so much that it makes you sick, this may make the pill less effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Alcohol negatively affects your sexual performance. You may struggle to get or maintain an erection, or struggle to become aroused enough for comfortable sex.  You can become clumsy or not enjoy sex as much as you normally would.

Unity Sexual Health has produced its own leaflet on Alcohol Awareness which you can view on the link below.


Health care professionals sometimes use screening tools in order to try and identify people that may have alcohol dependence. One such tool is the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) or the shortened form : AUDIT-C (see link below)


Taking drugs can lead to risky behaviour and physical problems. Drugs, like alcohol, put you at increased risk of encountering a dangerous situation.

Some of the risks associated with drug taking include:

Lowering inhibitions, which make you more likely to have unprotected sex. This increases your risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection or unwanted pregnancy.

You can become dependent on drugs. This can make sex without drugs less enjoyable and can damage relationships. This can also lead to spending large amounts of money on drugs.

Sharing needles to inject drugs increases your chances of getting HIV, which is an incurable viral infection which if left untreated causes severe health problems.

Further information on HIV

Sharing needles also increases your risks of developing Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. These infections can damage the liver and can lead to serious health problems, particularly if combined with alcohol which can also damage the liver.

Drugs reduce your awareness of your environment and your situation. You may make yourself more vulnerable to sexual assault or finding yourself in a dangerous situation.

You may put yourself at risk of overdosing, which can be fatal.

For more information on drugs and sex and information on appropriate external services please follow the links below.

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