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PLoS One. 2019 Aug 22;14(8):e0219710. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219710. eCollection 2019.

Association between alcohol use and inflammatory biomarkers over time among younger adults with HIV-The Russia ARCH Observational Study.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.
Department of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Biostatistics and Epidemiology Data Analytics Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
First Pavlov State Medical University, V. M. Bekhterev National Research Medical Center For Psychiatry And Neurology, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Department of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, First Pavlov State Medical University, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, United States of America.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.



Biomarkers of monocyte activation (soluble CD14 [sCD14]), inflammation (interleukin-6 [IL-6]), and altered coagulation (D-dimer) are associated with increased mortality risk in people with HIV. The objective of the Russia Alcohol Research Collaboration on HIV/AIDS (ARCH) study was to evaluate the association between heavy alcohol use and inflammatory biomarkers over time.


The study sought antiretroviral therapy naive participants with HIV (n = 350) and assessed them at baseline, 12 and 24 months. Linear mixed effects models were used to determine whether heavy drinking (self-report augmented by phosphatidylethanol [PEth], an alcohol biomarker) was longitudinally associated with IL-6, sCD14 and D-dimer adjusting for potential confounders (e.g., demographics, HIV factors, comorbid conditions).


Participants' baseline characteristics were as follows: 71% male; mean age of 34 years; 87% self-reported hepatitis C; and 86% current smokers. Mean log10 (HIV RNA) was 4.3 copies/mL. Heavy alcohol use, based on National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism risky drinking criteria and PEth (versus non-heavy alcohol use) was associated with higher sCD14 (adjusted mean difference 125 ng/mL [95% CI: 42, 209]), IL-6 (ratio of means 1.35 [95% CI: 1.17, 1.55] pg/mL), and D-dimer (ratio of means 1.20 [95% CI: 1.06, 1.37] ug/mL) across the two-year follow-up.


Among HIV+ adults, current heavy alcohol use is associated with higher sCD14, IL-6 and D-dimer over time. Since these biomarkers are associated with mortality, interventions to mitigate effects of heavy drinking on these immune processes merit consideration.

Conflict of interest statement

An employee of the funder (K. Bryant) is a co-author on this manuscript and helped guide analysis, interpretation and presentation of data and participated in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Debbie Cheng serves on Data Safety Monitoring Boards for Janssen Research & Development. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials. The remaining authors report no declarations of interest.

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