Even moderate alcohol intake may harm people with HIV

February 3, 2016 by Ziba Kashef, Yale University
Even moderate alcohol intake may harm people with HIV

Moderate alcohol consumption is more harmful to people with HIV than uninfected individuals, raising the risk of both mortality and other negative health effects, say Yale researchers. Their study is the first to demonstrate the increased harm among patients who have suppressed HIV with modern antiretroviral treatment (ART).

Research has shown that it takes fewer drinks for a person with HIV to feel the effects. However, most prior studies were done on HIV-positive who had detectable virus. The Yale-led team set out to determine whether the risks associated with alcohol were higher among current patients who are more likely to have the infection under control with ART.

The researchers analyzed data on HIV-positive and uninfected patients from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS), a large population of individuals receiving care from the Veterans Health Administration, between 2008 and 2012. They examined the association between and mortality and other signs of physiologic injury.

They found that HIV-positive individuals were more likely to die and experience physiological harm from alcohol consumption than uninfected individuals. Even consumption of one to two drinks per day was associated with increased risk for people with HIV. The finding was particularly notable because it held true for individuals with suppressed virus, said the researchers.

"It demonstrates that even among people on ART with suppressed viral load, who are much less sick in general, there is still an added effect of alcohol among those individuals than people without HIV," said Amy Justice, professor of general medicine and of public health. "It suggests the threshold for safe alcohol consumption is likely different for people with HIV."

The study was published online by Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Explore further: A bad buzz: Men with HIV need fewer drinks to feel effects

More information: Amy C. Justice et al. Risk of mortality and physiologic injury evident with lower alcohol exposure among HIV infected compared with uninfected men, Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.01.017

Related Stories

A bad buzz: Men with HIV need fewer drinks to feel effects

April 20, 2015
Researchers at Yale and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System compared the number of drinks that men with HIV infection, versus those without it, needed to get a buzz. They found that HIV-infected men were more sensitive to ...

HIV antibody infusion safely suppresses virus in infected people

December 23, 2015
A single infusion of a powerful antibody called VRC01 can suppress the level of HIV in the blood of infected people who are not taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), scientists at the National Institutes of Health report in ...

Drinking poses greater risk for advanced liver disease in HIV/hep C patients

May 2, 2014
Consumption of alcohol has long been associated with an increased risk of advanced liver fibrosis, but a new study published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases from researchers at Penn Medicine and other institutions ...

Lung microbiome similar with/without HIV

August 26, 2015
(HealthDay)—Lung microbiomes are similar in patients with and without HIV, although oral microbiomes do differ significantly, according to a study published online Aug. 6 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical ...

Half of HIV-positive patients see family docs exclusively for care

September 15, 2015
(HealthDay)—A large percentage of HIV-positive patients may see family physicians exclusively for their care, and these patients are more likely to receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) if their doctor has more experience ...

HIV infection may be a risk factor for heart failure

April 25, 2011
Patients with HIV infection without a prior history of coronary heart disease may be at a higher risk of developing heart failure, according to a report in the April 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Recommended for you

HIV-1 genetic diversity is higher in vaginal tract than in blood during early infection

January 18, 2018
A first-of-its-kind study has found that the genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is higher in the vaginal tract than in the blood stream during early infection. This finding, published in PLOS ...

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

New long-acting, less-toxic HIV drug suppresses virus in humanized mice

January 8, 2018
A team of Yale researchers tested a new chemical compound that suppresses HIV, protects immune cells, and remains effective for weeks with a single dose. In animal experiments, the compound proved to be a promising new candidate ...

Usage remains low for pill that can prevent HIV infection

January 8, 2018
From gritty neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to clinics in Kenya and Brazil, health workers are trying to popularize a pill that has proven highly effective in preventing HIV but which—in their view—remains woefully ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

tonybot
not rated yet Feb 03, 2016
although the article isn't coming right out and saying it, the likely reason for this is not the virus itself, but the fact that the patient's liver and kidney's are already trying to process the ART medication.... so when you add alcohol to the mix, it toxic overload.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.