skip to page content
Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Alcohol Use and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection: Current Knowledge, Implications, and Future Directions.

Williams EC, Hahn JA, Saitz R, Bryant K, Lira MC, Samet JH. Alcohol Use and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection: Current Knowledge, Implications, and Future Directions. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research. 2016 Oct 1; 40(10):2056-2072.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


Alcohol use is common among people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In this narrative review, we describe literature regarding alcohol's impact on transmission, care, coinfections, and comorbidities that are common among people living with HIV (PLWH), as well as literature regarding interventions to address alcohol use and its influences among PLWH. This narrative review identifies alcohol use as a risk factor for HIV transmission, as well as a factor impacting the clinical manifestations and management of HIV. Alcohol use appears to have additive and potentially synergistic effects on common HIV-related comorbidities. We find that interventions to modify drinking and improve HIV-related risks and outcomes have had limited success to date, and we recommend research in several areas. Consistent with Office of AIDS Research/National Institutes of Health priorities, we suggest research to better understand how and at what levels alcohol influences comorbid conditions among PLWH, to elucidate the mechanisms by which alcohol use is impacting comorbidities, and to understand whether decreases in alcohol use improve HIV-relevant outcomes. This should include studies regarding whether state-of-the-art medications used to treat common coinfections are safe for PLWH who drink alcohol. We recommend that future research among PLWH include validated self-report measures of alcohol use and/or biological measurements, ideally both. Additionally, subgroup variation in associations should be identified to ensure that the risks of particularly vulnerable populations are understood. This body of research should serve as a foundation for a next generation of intervention studies to address alcohol use from transmission to treatment of HIV. Intervention studies should inform implementation efforts to improve provision of alcohol-related interventions and treatments for PLWH in healthcare settings. By making further progress on understanding how alcohol use affects PLWH in the era of HIV as a chronic condition, this research should inform how we can mitigate transmission, achieve viral suppression, and avoid exacerbating common comorbidities of HIV and alcohol use and make progress toward the 90-90-90 goals for engagement in the HIV treatment cascade.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.