American researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine and the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion in Pittsburgh have discovered that HIV-infected men are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than non-infected men. They recently published their research in the journal AIDS and Behavior.
It is known that HIV and alcohol do not go well together. According to Prof. Amy Justice, professor of medicine and public health at Yale University, drinking alcohol is damaging, just like HIV, the liver and the immune system. “In addition, under the influence of alcohol, HIV-infected people are more likely to abandon their medication,” said Justice.
The researchers determined the effects of alcohol on HIV-infected people through a retrospective cohort study among male participants of the Veterans Aging Cohort Study. Between 2002 and 2010, 3631 HIV-infected and 3693 uninfected veterans were included. The scientists then stratified the participants based on their viral load. They then determined the drinking behavior of patients with HIV during alcohol intake based on data from questionnaires. The results have shown among those who have a demonstrable viral load to be more susceptible to the impact of alcoholic beverages compared to HIV-infected people with a non-demonstrable viral load or non-infected men.
The authors have no exact explanation for the difference they found. They postulate that the higher absorption of alcohol in HIV-infected people with a high viral load may be due to the action of the gastrointestinal barrier, which is disrupted by the HIV infection. They also think that the BMI of HIV patients can play a role, but due to the small sample size, the authors cannot draw conclusions from this. They, therefore, argue for more research into the causes of this effect, which also includes women. Healthcare providers can then use this information to inform their patients about the link between alcohol and HIV infection.Tags: alcohol among HIV, HIV and alcohol