Alcohol Abuse Linked with Poor Adherence in HIV/AIDS Patients

Published Online: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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Patients with HIV and AIDS who abuse alcohol are more likely to be nonadherent to antiretroviral treatment, a recent study conducted in Vietnam finds.

The cross-sectional survey, published online on January 10, 2014, in BMC Public Health, evaluated the relationship between alcohol use disorders, adherence to antiretroviral treatment, and health-related quality of life outcomes in patients with HIV and AIDS. The study was part of the 2012 HIV Services Users Survey, which was conducted in 7 clinics in 3 epicenters in Vietnam.

A total of 468 drug users and 648 non– drug users were included in the study. Among drug users, 35% were hazardous drinkers, compared with just 25.9% of those who did not use drugs. Approximately 22% of drug users engaged in binge drinking, and 25.9% reported poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Overall, patients who had at-risk or binge drinking behaviors were approximately twice as likely to have poor adherence as those who did not misuse alcohol. Patients identified as hazardous or binge drinkers also had lower quality-of-life scores compared with safe drinkers.

The authors of the study suggest that screening and interventions may help to improve adherence among HIV and AIDS patients who also abuse alcohol.

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