Eliminating Alcohol Addiction in HIV Patients May Help Improve Lives

By Staff Writer

Living with HIV can be a daunting challenge that makes may aspects of life more difficult. However, HIV and AIDS patients who are struggling with alcoholism but do not seek substance abuse counseling may experience many additional health problems.

In order to determine the extent to which alcoholism can affect individuals with HIV, a team of Brown University researchers plans to study the biological and mental changes that occur in HIV-positive drinkers.

Researchers said that heavy alcohol consumption and HIV independently can cause major harm to the brain. However, the two factors taken together may multiply the damage. This may result in a dangerous situation, which the team hopes to describe through their study.

The research is being funded by a $7.5 million five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. Officials said that, due to the fact that individuals with HIV are living longer lives, it is important to shift focus to helping them be healthier in their later years. Eliminating alcohol use may be an important part of this.