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AIDS Care. 2010 Sep;22(9):1136-45. doi: 10.1080/09540121003605039.

Harmful alcohol consumption and patterns of substance use in HIV-infected patients receiving antiretrovirals (ANRS-EN12-VESPA Study): relevance for clinical management and intervention.

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Health and Medical Research National Institute, Paris, France.


Alcohol abuse affects secondary prevention and disease progression in HIV-infected patients, and adherence and response to treatment in those chronically treated. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of harmful alcohol consumption (HAC) using various indicators and identify which groups of patients may require specific targeted interventions for HAC risk reduction. A cross-sectional survey, based on a random sample representative of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) was carried out in 102 French hospital departments delivering HIV care. As alcohol abuse is particularly detrimental to patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), we focused only on those individuals receiving HAART with complete alcohol assessment (CAGE, AUDIT-C, regular binge drinking, N=2340). Collected information included medical and socio-demographic data, HIV risk behaviors, adherence to treatment and substance and alcohol use, together with depression, anxiety, and experience of attempted suicide or sex work. HAC prevalence was evaluated as follows: 12% (CAGE score > or =2), 27% (AUDIT-C), and 9% (regular binge drinking). Three groups were at higher risk of HAC: men who have sex with men using stimulants, polydrug users, and to a lesser degree, ex-drug users. Innovative intervention strategies to reduce HAC and improve HIV prevention and HAART adherence in various PLWHA populations need urgent testing and implementation. Such interventions for alcohol risk reduction remain central to promoting improved HIV prevention and assuring HAART effectiveness in these populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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