Original Paper

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 1302-1314

First online:

Problematic Alcohol Use Among Individuals with HIV: Relations with Everyday Memory Functioning and HIV Symptom Severity

  • Adrienne J. HeinzAffiliated withCenter for Health Care Evaluation, VA Palo Alto Health Care SystemDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine Email author 
  • , Kethera A. FoglerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, James Madison University
  • , Michael E. NewcombAffiliated withNorthwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • , Jodie A. TraftonAffiliated withCenter for Health Care Evaluation, VA Palo Alto Health Care SystemDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • , Marcel O. Bonn-MillerAffiliated withCenter for Health Care Evaluation, VA Palo Alto Health Care SystemCenter of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education, Philadelphia VAMCNational Center for PTSD, VA Palo Alto Health Care System

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Abstract

Problematic alcohol use has been shown to negatively impact cognitive functions germane to achieving optimal HIV health outcomes. The present study, a secondary data analysis, examined the impact of problematic alcohol use on aspects of everyday memory functioning in a sample of 172 HIV-infected individuals (22 % female; M age = 48.37 years, SD = 8.64; 39 % Black/non-Hispanic). Additionally, we tested whether self-reported memory functioning explained the relation between problematic alcohol use and HIV symptom severity. Results indicated that problematic patterns of alcohol use were associated with lower total memory functioning, retrieval (e.g., recall-difficulty) and memory for activity (e.g., what you did yesterday) and greater HIV symptom severity. Memory functioning mediated the relation between problematic alcohol use and HIV symptom severity. However, the direction of this relation was unclear as HIV symptom severity also mediated the relation between problematic alcohol use and memory functioning. Findings highlight the importance of integrated care for HIV and alcohol use disorders and suggest that routine alcohol and cognitive screenings may bolster health outcomes among this vulnerable population.

Keywords

Alcohol Drinking Cognitive Memory HIV Symptoms