Scientists have found a link between alcohol consumption and disease progression in HIVers, according to a study published in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
Using controls for adherence and depressive symptoms, researchers assessed 595 HIV-infected people who had alcohol problems. They found that among subjects who were
not on antiretroviral therapy, heavy alcohol consumption was associated with a lower T-cell count.
Among subjects who were on antiretroviral therapy, heavy alcohol consumption was not associated with a lower T-cell count or higher HIV viral load.
'HIV-infected people who drink alcohol heavily and are not on anti-HIV therapy might decrease their risk of disease progression if they abstain from alcohol use,' says lead author Jeffrey Samet, a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and chief of general internal medicine at Boston Medical Center.