HIV-positive people who are heavy drinkers and who are not taking antiretroviral medications have lower CD4 counts than moderate or non-drinking HIV-positive people not on meds, according to a new study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

This difference was not seen in positive people who are taking antiretroviral meds.

The study, which examined almost 600 HIV-positive people in Boston, suggests that those who drink heavily will reach the point where treatment is recommended sooner than someone who does not drink as much.