Home » News » HIV+ Men More Sensitive to Alcohol
HIV+ Men More Sensitive to Alcohol

HIV+ Men More Sensitive to Alcohol

A new study discovers that men with HIV infection are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than uninfected men.

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.

Their findings are published in the journal AIDS and Behavior.

Researchers know that HIV and alcohol can make for a dangerous mix. “Alcohol makes it more likely you’re going to get HIV due to risky sexual behavior,” said Dr. Amy C. Justice, professor of medicine and public health at Yale.

“Once people have HIV, alcohol makes it less likely they will take their antiretroviral medications.” Drinking, like HIV infection, also harms the liver and immune system.

To examine the effects of alcohol on HIV patients, the Yale team and their co-authors reviewed data on more than 2,600 men enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study, an ongoing multi-site study of veterans.

They analyzed survey responses from both HIV-infected and uninfected veterans who were asked how many alcoholic drinks it took for them to feel a buzz or high.

The researchers also compared responses from HIV-infected men with unsuppressed or detectable HIV infection versus those with suppressed HIV.

The study found that HIV-infected men with detectable virus were more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than both HIV-infected men with suppressed virus and uninfected men. On average, the HIV-infected individuals with detectable virus got a buzz from imbibing just a quarter less of a drink than the others.

“All else equal, people who have HIV infection have a lower tolerance for alcohol than similar people without HIV infection,” Justice explained. It’s not clear, she added, whether HIV-infected individuals are simply more susceptible to alcohol or if they achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood from the same number of drinks.

Researchers believe the findings suggest that there is no clearly safe level of alcohol consumption for people with HIV. As a result of the study, providers are advised to counsel HIV-infected patients that they are more susceptible to the harmful effects of drinking.

Source: Yale University/EurekAlert!

HIV+ Men More Sensitive to Alcohol

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). HIV+ Men More Sensitive to Alcohol. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2015/04/21/hiv-men-more-sensitive-to-alcohol/83752.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.