The safety threshold for alcohol use is lower for HIV-positive people. Publishing their findings in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers analyzed data from the Veterans Aging Cohort on 18,145 HIV-positive and 42,228 HIV-negative individuals receiving care from the Veterans Health Administration between 2008 and 2012.

Seventy-six percent of the HIV-positive population had undetectable virus.

The researchers found that people living with HIV were more likely to die and experience physiological harm connected with drinking alcohol than HIV-negative individuals. Consuming as little as one or two drinks per day was enough to raise the risk of harm among the HIV-positive population. This finding held true for those with a fully suppressed virus.

Specifically, having at least 30 drinks per month was associated with a 30 percent higher risk of death or physiological harm among people with HIV. Meanwhile, consuming at least 70 drinks per month was associated with a 13 percent increased risk of death or physiological harm in the HIV-negative group.

To read a press release about the study, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.