Heavy alcohol use has adverse effects in women with HIV. We examined the association between changes in alcohol use (measured with Timeline Followback) and changes in antiretroviral therapy adherence (medication possession ratio) and viral suppression (HIV RNA), measured over 6-month intervals. Among women who were (1) non-adherent or not virologically suppressed and (2) infrequent binge drinkers or non-heavy drinkers at baseline, increasing drinking was significantly associated with lower odds of subsequently improving adherence or viral suppression (OR of becoming adherent of 0.90 in infrequent binge drinkers; OR of becoming suppressed of 0.81 and 0.75 in infrequent binge drinkers and non-heavy drinkers, respectively). Our findings suggest that for these women, increasing drinking may be a barrier to achieving viral suppression. Addressing this barrier by integrating proactive alcohol counseling strategies into routine HIV care may be key to improving viral suppression rates among women retained in HIV care.
- Antiretroviral medication adherence
- HIV infection
- Viral load
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases