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December 21, 2009

Heavy Drinking Raises Heart Disease Risk in HIV-Positive Men

"Looking only at the HIV-positive veterans and after controlling the data to exclude common traditional causes of CVD [cardiovascular disease] — such as age, cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and cigarette smoking — hazardous drinking was associated with a 74 percent increase in the risk of congestive heart failure (CHF), whereas alcohol abuse and dependence was associated with a 67 percent increase in the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and a 99 percent increased risk of CHF. Past drinkers—those who hadn’t used alcohol in the preceding 12 months—faced a 78 percent increased risk of a stroke.

"Interestingly, when the researchers looked at the HIV-negative veterans and controlled for traditional risk factors, there was no statistically significant association between alcohol consumption and CVD risk. This lack of association, the authors write, 'suggest[s] that the effect of alcohol may be more pronounced among those infected with HIV.'"

Read more in POZ, December 21, 2009.