Changing Patterns of Alcohol Use and Probability of Unsuppressed Viral Load Among Treated Patients with HIV Engaged in Routine Care in the United States

AIDS Behav. 2021 Apr;25(4):1072-1082. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-03065-z. Epub 2020 Oct 16.


We examined HIV viral load non-suppression ([Formula: see text] 200 copies/mL) subsequent to person-periods (3-18 months) bookended by two self-reports of alcohol use on a standardized patient reported outcome assessment among adults in routine HIV care. We examined the relative risk (RR) of non-suppression associated with increases and decreases in alcohol use (relative to stable use), stratified by use at the start of the person-period. Increases in drinking from abstinence were associated with higher risk of viral non-suppression (low-risk without binge: RR 1.16, 95% CI 1.03, 1.32; low-risk with binge: RR 1.35, 95% CI 1.11, 1.63; high-risk: RR 1.89, 95% CI 1.16, 3.08). Decreases in drinking from high-risk drinking were weakly, and not statistically significantly associated with lower risk of viral non-suppression. Other changes in alcohol use were not associated with viral load non-suppression. Most changes in alcohol consumption among people using alcohol at baseline were not strongly associated with viral non-suppression.

Keywords: Alcohol drinking; Drinking behavior; HIV infections; Patient reported outcome measures; Prospective studies; Viral load.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Probability
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Viral Load