Original Paper

AIDS and Behavior

pp 1-8

First online:

Number of Drinks to “Feel a Buzz” by HIV Status and Viral Load in Men

  • Kathleen A. McGinnisAffiliated withCenter for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemVeterans Aging Cohort Study Coordinating Center, VA CT Healthcare System Email author 
  • , David A. FiellinAffiliated withVeterans Aging Cohort Study Coordinating Center, VA CT Healthcare SystemDivision of General Internal Medicine, Yale University School of MedicineCenter for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale University School of Public Health
  • , Janet P. TateAffiliated withVeterans Aging Cohort Study Coordinating Center, VA CT Healthcare SystemDivision of General Internal Medicine, Yale University School of MedicineCenter for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale University School of Public Health
  • , Robert L. CookAffiliated withDepartments of Epidemiology and Medicine, University of Florida
  • , R. Scott BraithwaiteAffiliated withDepartment of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine
  • , Kendall J. BryantAffiliated withNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • , E. Jennifer EdelmanAffiliated withVeterans Aging Cohort Study Coordinating Center, VA CT Healthcare SystemDivision of General Internal Medicine, Yale University School of MedicineCenter for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale University School of Public Health
  • , Adam J. GordonAffiliated withCenter for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemDivision of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • , Kevin L. KraemerAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
    • , Stephen A. MaistoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Syracuse University
    • , Amy C. JusticeAffiliated withVeterans Aging Cohort Study Coordinating Center, VA CT Healthcare SystemDivision of General Internal Medicine, Yale University School of MedicineCenter for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale University School of Public Health
    • , The Veterans Aging Cohort Study

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Abstract

The impact of HIV and its treatment on the effects of alcohol remain unclear. Blood alcohol concentrations have been noted to be higher in HIV infected individuals prior to antiretroviral initiation. Our goal was to compare number of drinks to “feel a buzz or high” among HIV infected and uninfected men, stratified by viral load (VL) suppression. Data includes 1478 HIV infected and 1170 uninfected men in the veterans aging cohort study who endorsed current drinking. Mean (SD) number of drinks to feel a buzz was 3.1 (1.7) overall. In multivariable analyses, HIV infected men reported a lower mean number of drinks to feel a buzz compared to uninfected men (coef = −14 for VL < 500; −34 for VL ≥ 500; p ≤ .05). Men with HIV, especially those with a detectable VL, reported fewer drinks to feel a buzz. Future research on the relationship between alcohol and HIV should consider the role of VL suppression.

Keywords

HIV Alcohol intoxication Alcohol use Alcohol-related disorders Buzz