People with HIV who consume alcohol at high levels are more likely to adhere poorly to their antiretroviral (ARV) regimen, News Medical reports.

Publishing their findings in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, investigators studied 535 HIV-positive adults, including 458 men and 77 women, enrolled in HIV studies at the University of California, San Diego. All were receiving ARVs at the time of their first study visit and reported consuming alcohol during the previous 30 days.

The study authors defined “at-risk” alcohol use as more than three daily drinks for women and more than four drinks a day for men. They defined participants as poorly adherent to their ARV regimen if they reported missing doses or if they had a detectable viral load.

A total of 133 participants, or about a quarter, reported at-risk alcohol consumption. The researchers found that such risky alcohol use was associated with poor adherence to ARVs.

Compared with moderate drinkers, the heavy drinkers were younger, had less education and were more likely to have received a diagnosis of lifetime alcohol use and lifetime cocaine use disorders.

The investigators proposed that focusing more intently on treating alcohol-use disorders among people with HIV may improve their adherence to ARV treatment.

To read the News Medical article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.