People living with HIV (PLWH) are at increased risk for noncommunicable diseases such as lung disease in part due to opportunistic infections including pneumonia. HIV infection is associated with increased prevalence of impaired lung function and abnormal gas exchange. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is exceedingly common in PLWH and is associated with higher risk of pneumonia in PLWH. Alcohol use may lead to lung damage through several mechanisms. Data on the long-term effect of AUD on pulmonary function in PLWH are sparse and conflicting. To evaluate this relationship, we conducted a cross-sectional analysis of adult PLWH in care in Louisiana. We hypothesized that chronic alcohol use would be associated with subsequent pulmonary dysfunction in a dose-dependent fashion. All participants performed standardized spirometry on study entry. In total, 350 participants with acceptable spirometry were included in this analysis. Thirty-one percent of participants were female. Women reported less lifetime alcohol use and less smoking; however, they reported more chronic respiratory symptoms. In adjusted models, total lifetime alcohol use was not associated with spirometry measures of pulmonary function. HIV-related variables (CD4 count and viral load) were also not associated with measures of pulmonary function. We then conducted sex-stratified analyses to eliminate residual confounding of sex and similarly found no association of total lifetime alcohol use and pulmonary function. We found no association of AUDIT score or early life alcohol use and pulmonary function. In latent class factor analysis, current heavy alcohol use was associated with lower measures of pulmonary function as compared to former heavy alcohol use. In summary, in this cohort of New Orleanian men and women living with HIV with robust measures of alcohol use, though total lifetime alcohol use and early life alcohol use were not associated with pulmonary function, current heavy alcohol use was associated with impaired pulmonary function.
Keywords: Alcohol; HIV; Pulmonary function; Spirometry.
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