Addressing unhealthy alcohol use among people living with HIV: recent advances and research directions

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Purpose of review

Unhealthy alcohol use is prevalent among people living with HIV (PLWH). We sought to identify the most current literature examining the impact of unhealthy alcohol on health outcomes and latest developments on how to best intervene.

Recent findings

New research shows that PLWH have heightened morbidity and mortality at lower levels of alcohol consumption compared with HIV-uninfected persons. Studies published since 2016 have further elucidated the effects of persistent unhealthy alcohol use on HIV treatment outcomes over time. Screening and brief interventions, as well as pharmacologic treatment, can reduce unhealthy alcohol use among PLWH.


Unhealthy alcohol use is an important and modifiable risk factor for poor health and HIV treatment outcomes among PLWH. More research is needed to encourage and maintain engagement in alcohol-related interventions and improve implementation.

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