Background: African American women experience increased rates of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.
The use of alcohol may increase sexual risk behaviors among this population.
Purpose: This paper provides a review and critique of the literature examining the association between alcohol use and
sexual risk behaviors among African American females including a: (a) synthesis of research findings from adolescent,
college-aged/early adulthood, and adult samples; (b) methodological critique of the literature; and (c) guidance for future
Methods: We reviewed 32 studies examining the association between alcohol use and sexual risk behaviors among
African American females across developmental periods.
Results: Similar to previous association studies, results suggest that increased use of alcohol is associated with increased
sexual risk practices among African American females. Further, even non-abuse levels of drinking among African
American females, at all ages, were related to increased sexual risk-taking.
Conclusions: Future studies should seek to recruit samples that more fully reflect the diversity of African American
women’s experiences across the lifespan. Given the association between alcohol use and/or abuse and the prevalence of
STI/HIV-associated risk behaviors and adverse biological outcomes (i.e., STIs, including HIV) among African American
females across the lifespan, there is a clear need to develop and evaluate prevention research efforts tailored for this