Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) targets the body’s immune system and often leads to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Each year in the United States, between 55,000 and 60,000 people become infected with HIV, for a total of more than 1.1 million currently infected.
Scientists have learned that alcohol use and abuse can contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS and affect treatment for infected patients.
- Abusing alcohol or other drugs can impair judgment, leading a person to engage in risky sexual behaviors.
- People who drink heavily may delay getting tested for HIV and, if they do test positive, they may postpone seeking treatment.
- Alcohol use and abuse may make it difficult for infected patients to follow the complex medications regimen that is often prescribed to treat HIV/AIDS.
- Alcohol abuse and dependence can contribute to conditions such as liver disease and other disorders that have an impact on the progression of HIV infection.
All of these factors increase the likelihood that an infected person will infect others or will go on to develop AIDS.
Learn more about HIV/AIDS at:
- NIAAA's Research Program on HIV/AIDS
- HIV/AIDS Alcohol Research and Health Issue
- HIV/AIDS Alcohol Alert