Alcohol and HIV: new issue of RITA

The new issue of Research Initiative Treatment Action (RITA) is now online.  (PDF)

The issue includes an interview with HIV/alcohol expert Jeffrey Samet that suggests what HIV doctors should say about drinking, how to screen for alcohol use disorder, and how to approach treatment.

It includes four review articles. 

  1. Alcohol use prevalence in HIV populations.
  2. How to screen for alcohol use.
  3. The clinical impact of alcohol use in people with HIV.
  4. Treatment options for alcohol misuse.

Highlights include:

  • Alcohol misuse prevalence ranges from 20% to 40% in HIV populations and usually exceeds estimates in the general population.
  • Incidence of problem drinking appears to be rising in adolescents and young adults with HIV.
  • Current safe alcohol thresholds may be set too high.
  • All adolescents and adults with HIV should be screened for alcohol misuse, yet only 1 in 6 adults with HIV talks to their doctor about alcohol.
  • Alcohol misuse can disrupt every step of the HIV care continuum.
  • Alcohol attacks several organs and systems already made more vulnerable by HIV, including the heart, bones, liver, brain, and immune system.
  • Three FDA-licensed drugs for alcohol misuse are old, and little research assesses new therapies in people with HIV.

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