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The impact of long-term moderate and heavy alcohol consumption on incident atherosclerosis among persons living with HIV

Level of alcohol consumption is associated with differential risk of atherosclerosis, but little research has investigated this association among HIV+ persons. A team of researchers evaluated the association between long-term alcohol use and incident atherosclerosis among HIV+ persons.

Data was taken from HIV+ participants of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (n=4,83) and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (n=305) without history of cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis was assessed two times by B-mode carotid artery ultrasound imaging from 2004 to 2013. Presence of plaque was defined as focal carotid intima-media thickness over 1.5mm. Those with no plaque at baseline and plaque at follow-up were considered incident cases of atherosclerosis. Group-based trajectory models were used to categorise participants into 10-year drinking patterns representing heavy, moderate, or abstinent-low. Multivariable logistic regressions were conducted to assess the association of longterm moderate and heavy use on atherosclerosis, compared to abstinent-low.

Heavy alcohol consumption was not statistically significantly associated with risk for incident atherosclerosis in women (AOR 1.10, CI 0.40-3.02) or men (AOR 1.31, CI 0.43-4.00), compared to abstinencelow. Moderate consumption was associated with 54% lower odds for incident disease in men (AOR 0.46, CI 0.21-1.00), but not in women (AOR 1.08, CI 0.58-2.00). In cohort-combined analyses, alcohol consumption was not statistically significantly association with incident atherosclerosis (moderate AOR 0.78, CI 0.48- 1.27; heavy AOR 1.33, CI 0.66-2.69).

The researchers conclude that moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a significant protective effect on incident atherosclerosis in men. No other levels of alcohol consumption significantly predicted atherosclerosis in men and women compared to abstinent-low. Source: The impact of long-term moderate and heavy alcohol consumption on incident atherosclerosis among persons living with HIV. Kelso-Chichetto NE, Plankey M, Sheps DS, Abraham AG, Chen X, Shoptaw S, Kaplan RC, Post WS, Cook RL. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Dec 1;181:235-241. . Epub 2017 Oct 28.

doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.09.034
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