Presence of an Alcohol Use Disorder is Associated with Greater Pneumonia Severity in Hospitalized HIV-Infected Patients

Lung. 2016 Oct;194(5):755-62. doi: 10.1007/s00408-016-9920-1. Epub 2016 Jul 12.


Purpose: Pneumonia is common and more severe in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. Alcohol consumption in pneumonia patients without HIV is associated with excess mortality and morbidity. However, studies are lacking on the impact of alcohol on pneumonia and HIV. Our goal was to determine if alcohol use was an independent risk factor for pneumonia severity in HIV-infected patients.

Methods: Secondary analysis of prospective cohort study data evaluating early bronchoscopy for pneumonia diagnosis in HIV patients between 2007 and 2011 was conducted. We defined AUDs using an alcohol use disorder identification test (AUDIT) score as follows: ≥8 indicates hazardous drinking and ≥14 indicates dependence. We quantified pneumonia severity using the pneumonia severity index (PSI). Multivariable linear regression was used to investigate the independent association between alcohol and pneumonia severity.

Results: A total of 196 HIV+ individuals comprised our cohort. Most cohort subjects were middle-aged African American men. Most subjects (70 %) reported not taking antiretroviral therapy. The overall prevalence of hazardous drinking was 24 % in our cohort (48/196) with 10 % (19/196) meeting the criteria for alcohol dependence. Alcohol consumption was significantly associated with pneumonia severity (r = 0.25, p < 0.001). Hazardous drinking (β-coefficient 10.12, 95 % CI 2.95-17.29, p = 0.006) and alcohol dependence (β-coefficient 12.89, 95 % CI 2.59-23.18, p = 0.014) were independent risk factors for pneumonia severity. Reported homelessness and men who have sex with men (MSM) status remained independent risk factors for more severe pneumonia after adjustment for the effects of alcohol.

Conclusions: In a cohort of HIV patients with pneumonia, presence of an AUD was an independent risk factor for pneumonia severity. Homelessness and MSM status were associated with greater pneumonia severity in AUD patients.

Keywords: Alcohol use disorder; HIV/AIDS; Pneumonia severity; Respiratory illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Louisiana / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia / microbiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index