Alcohol & drugs : Swiss AIDS Federation

Alcohol & drugs

Alcohol and other drugs can lower inhibitions, increase sexual desire and experience, and enhance the willingness to take risks. This can increase the danger of becoming infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. People living with HIV should also know how drugs could affect their therapy.

I'm familiar with the safer sex rules, but in spite of that I often forget to use protection when I go to parties and drink a lot of alcohol...

Alcohol inebriates you and lowers your inhibitions. It can also increase arousal. In this state, we are less danger-conscious and we take more risks, such as unprotected, rougher sex. Always take enough condoms with you, and tell your partners before sex that you insist on protection. The same also applies if you have been taking other drugs such as cocaine, GHB/GBL, ecstasy, etc.

Is there a risk of becoming infected with HIV while injecting with drugs?

Yes. Sharing needles increases the risk of becoming infected with HIV and Hepatitis C.

That is why – follow these rules to protect yourself when injecting:

  • Only consume drugs with your own, new, sterile syringes, needles and filters and thoroughly cleaned materials (water containers and spoons).
  • Thoroughly wash your hands before and after every consumption.
  • Share (frontloading) only with your own, new, sterile syringes, needles and filters.
  • Water containers and spoons must be completely and thoroughly cleaned. With multiple use germs can adhere to them which are infectious for a long time.
  • Every form of filter may only be used once. In the blood residues in used filters, large cultures of bacteria can be found together with viruses, which can quickly multiply.

or recommendations based on your personal sexuality, try our Safer Sex Check at

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