, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 159-166

Alcohol consumption and risk of incident human immunodeficiency virus infection: a meta-analysis

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To analyze the relationship between alcohol consumption and incident HIV infection.


Articles were identified via electronic and hand searches. Inclusion criteria were: incident HIV infection, preceding alcohol consumption, and association relating the two. The DerSimonian and Laird random effects model was used. For studies with more than one estimate of a given type, estimates were combined using the inverse variance weighted method. Publication bias was assessed using Begg’s and Egger’s tests. Heterogeneity was assessed using Q and I 2 statistics.


Ten studies were included. Overall alcohol consumption (any of the three types identified) increased the risk of HIV (RR 1.98, 95% CI 1.59–2.47). Alcohol consumers were at 77% higher risk (RR 1.77, 95% CI 1.43–2.19). Those consuming alcohol prior to, or at the time of, sexual relations were at an 87% increased risk (RR 1.87, 95% CI 1.39–2.50). For binge drinkers, the risk was double that of non-binge drinkers (RR 2.20, 95% CI 1.29–3.74).


Alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of incident HIV infection. Additional research is required to further investigate a possible causal role.