People with replicating HIV feel the effects of drinking with less alcohol than those with a fully suppressed viral load or HIV-negative people. Publishing their findings in AIDS and Behavior, researchers analyzed data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study, including survey responses from 1,478 HIV-positive (divided between those with detectable and undetectable viral loads) and 1,170 HIV-negative men who said they were current drinkers.

The veterans were asked how many drinks it took for them to feel a buzz or high.  The average number of drinks to reach this point among all men in the study was 3.1. On average, the HIV-positive men with a detectable virus required a quarter less alcohol to get buzzed or high than the others in the study.

“Alcohol makes it more likely you’re going to get HIV due to risky sexual behavior,” Amy C. Justice, MD, MSc, PhD, a professor of medicine and public health at Yale and the lead author of the study, said in a press release. “Once people have HIV, alcohol makes it less likely they will take their antiretroviral medications.”

To read the press release, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.