International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 159–166 | Cite as

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

  • Dolly BaliunasEmail author
  • Jürgen Rehm
  • Hyacinth Irving
  • Paul Shuper
Original Article



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.


Alcohol HIV Incidence Meta-analysis 



We thank the attendees of the Alcohol and Infectious Diseases Technical meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa in July 2008 and hosted by the South African Medical Research Council in collaboration with the World Health Organization. The research work was funded by the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) through a grant received from the US President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dolly Baliunas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jürgen Rehm
    • 2
  • Hyacinth Irving
    • 2
  • Paul Shuper
    • 2
  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada

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