Age, Race, and At-Risk Drinking in an HIV-infected U.S. Military Cohort

Mil Med. 2019 May 1;184(5-6):e263-e267. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usy318.


Introduction: There is a high prevalence of at-risk drinking in the U.S. military. Among HIV-infected individuals, alcohol abuse confers additional risk for adverse health outcomes. In the military, however, the characteristics of HIV-infected individuals who engage in high-risk drinking are not well defined. The purpose of this study was to assess risk factors associated with at-risk drinking in an HIV-positive longitudinal cohort of DoD beneficiaries.

Materials and methods: Annual prevalence of at-risk drinking was calculated for members of the U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study who initiated highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) during or after January 2006 through May 2014; each participant completed at least one self-reported alcohol survey within a year of HAART initiation. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze factors associated with at-risk drinking.

Results: Sixty-six percent of subjects (495/752) reported at-risk drinking on at least one survey after HAART initiation. At-risk drinkers were more likely to be Active Duty compared to Retired (OR 0.65 95% CI [0.46, 0.92]). In multivariate models, Caucasian race (OR 3.30 95% CI [2.31, 4.71]); Hispanic/other race (OR 2.17 95% CI [1.51, 3.14]) and younger age (OR 0.61 per 10 years older, [95%CI 0.49, 0.75]) were significantly associated with at-risk drinking. Single relationship status (OR 1.51 95% CI [1.08, 2.13]) was also associated with at-risk drinking.

Conclusions: Consistent with general alcohol consumption patterns in the military, we found a high prevalence of at-risk drinking among individuals with HIV infection, which was associated most closely with young, non-African Americans. Targeting interventions toward this group will be important to reduce at-risk drinking and its potential for HIV-related complications.

Keywords: Alcohol; At-Risk Drinking; HIV; Military.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Racial Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology