Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 17-42

First online:

Alcohol Use and High-Risk Sexual Behavior in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Narrative Review

  • Sarah E. Woolf-KingAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Syracuse University Email author 
  • , Stephen A. MaistoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Syracuse University

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Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) contains 10% of the world’s population and 60% of all people living with AIDS. Consequently, research investigating risk factors associated with HIV acquisition is a public health priority and one such risk factor is alcohol consumption. This article is a review of empirical studies on the association of alcohol and high-risk sexual behavior in SSA, with a focus on measurable outcomes generated from quantitative data. A critique of the literature is provided, with attention to methodological concerns. Empirically based theoretical orientations were used to interpret the reviewed research and to stimulate discussion about how to improve the state of the current literature. Based on this discussion, a model of alcohol and high-risk sexual behavior in an African context is proposed in order to integrate the existing literature and highlight areas in need of continued research.


Alcohol Sex Africa HIV/AIDS STD