A ground-breaking report by researchers at Yale University and published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence reveals the increased dangers of drinking alcohol for people who suffer from HIV.
HIV patients must adhere to a strict dose of daily medications for their very survival.
This treatment is known as modern antiretroviral treatment (ART). ART suppresses HIV and allows the patient to continue living for many years with the virus.
However, many HIV sufferers are also heavy drinkers.
Following this report, doctors are likely to now advise HIV patients not to drink any alcohol at all.
The report is based on records of people treated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs between 2008-2012. Researchers at Yale analysed this data from around 17,000 patients infected with HIV and around 42,000 patients who were not infected with HIV.
Results of the study
The results of the study make depressing reading for people suffering from HIV.
Patients who drank only one or two alcoholic drinks per week were 'considerably' likely to develop an alcohol-related health problem. This also included death.
Modern antiretroviral treatment (ART) did not reduce this risk.
Head researcher, Dr Amy Justice, said: "Even among people on ART with suppressed viral load, who are much less sick in general, there is still an added effect of alcohol among those individuals than people without HIV."
"It suggests the threshold for safe alcohol consumption is likely different for people with HIV."
Alcohol causes HIV sufferers to neglect their medication
There is also evidence that HIV sufferers neglect their medication when under the influence of alcohol. A study conducted back in 2012 and published in the journal of General Internal Medicine revealed 51% of HIV sufferers failed to consume their medication when suffering from alcoholism.
antiretroviral a HIV sufferer fails to take their medication. A failure to take antiretroviral medication may result in the virus building up a deadly resistance to the drug. This often results in the development of AIDS and then death.
Skipping antiretroviral medications may also lead to a deadly surge in the virus.
Doctors thus advise HIV sufferers to take their medications even when under the influence of alcohol. The danger of not taking their medication far outweighs the dangers of mixing antiretroviral medication with alcohol.
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