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McGinnis KA, Fiellin DA, Tate JP, Cook RL, Braithwaite RS, Bryant KJ, Edelman EJ, Gordon AJ, Kraemer KL, Maisto SA, Justice AC, Veterans Aging Cohort Study. Number of Drinks to "Feel a Buzz" by HIV Status and Viral Load in Men. AIDS and behavior. 2016 Mar 1; 20(3):504-11.
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.