Alcohol may speed HIV disease progression
BY Advocate.com Editors
June 12 2003 11:00 PM ET
Researchers at the Boston Medical Center report in the June issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research that HIV-positive adults taking antiretroviral drugs who drink moderate to high amounts of alcohol may experience faster HIV disease progression, Health Behavior News Service reports. A study of 349 HIV-positive Boston adults showed that HIV-positive study subjects who drank had higher blood-based viral loads and lower T-cell counts that patients who did not drink. Patients not taking anti-HIV drugs were not affected by alcohol consumption, leading the researchers to theorize that drinking impairs a person's ability to stick to their medication regimens, which can lead to the development of drug-resistant virus. They also theorize that combining alcohol with antiretroviral medications could cause damage to the liver, which processes the anti-HIV drugs, or to the body's immune system.