Background: Research suggests that reduced retail alcohol outlet density may be associated with lower prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). On-premise sale of alcohol for immediate consumption is theorized as increasing social interactions that can lead to sexual encounters. Objective: We examined associations between on- and off-premise retail alcohol sales licenses and number of newly diagnosed HIV and STI cases in Texas counties. Methods: Retail alcohol sales license data were obtained from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. HIV and bacterial STI data were obtained from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Associations between retail alcohol sales licenses and STIs were estimated using spatial linear models and Poisson mixed effects models for over-dispersed count data. Results: Adjusting for county-specific confounders, there was no evidence of residual spatial correlation. In Poisson models, each additional on-premise (e.g., bar and restaurant) alcohol license per 10,000 population in a county was associated with a 1.5% increase (95% CI: 0.4%, 2.6%) in the rate of HIV and a 2.4% increase (95% CI: 1.9%, 3.0%) in the rate of bacterial STIs, adjusting for potential confounders. In contrast, number of off-premise licenses (e.g., take-out stores) was inversely associated with the incidence of STI and HIV, although the association with HIV was not statistically significant. Conclusions: This study adds to the limited literature on the association between retail alcohol availability and STIs. Additional research is needed on the role of alcohol availability (and policies affecting availability) in the spread of HIV and other STIs.
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Sexually transmitted infections (STI)
- bars and nightclubs
- off-premise alcohol outlets
- on-premise alcohol outlets