Alcohol availability and drinking norms

Alcohol use is associated with prevalent and incident HIV infection, as many studies in sub-Saharan Africa and India show. Excessive alcohol use by male partners is strongly connected with women’s experience of partner violence, a key factor in HIV vulnerability.


Alcohol is associated with risky behaviours including:

  • unprotected sex,
  • multiple partners,
  • commercial sex, and
  • physical and sexual abuse of women.

Drinking venues are strongly associated with HIV risk as they bring together the opportunity to drink alcohol and to meet casual sex partners.

Alcohol connects with other structural factors to influence HIV vulnerability. STRIVE investigates the causal pathways between alcohol and structural factors such as:

  • gender-based power imbalances and the norms that perpetuate them,
  • partner violence, and
  • limited livelihood options, transactional sex and sex work.


Many countries with heavy HIV and alcohol burdens do not fully recognize these epidemics as intrinsically interconnected. Missed opportunities for synergistic prevention and treatment of HIV and alcohol abound. Michelle Schneider, Matthew Chersich, Manuela Neuman, Charles Parry: "Alcohol consumption and HIV: The Neglected Interface"

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