Alcohol Use and Antiretroviral Adherence Among Patients Living with HIV: Is Change in Alcohol Use Associated with Change in Adherence?
Publication Date: 09/09/2021
Alcohol use increases non-adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) among persons living with HIV (PLWH). Dynamic longitudinal associations are understudied. Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) data 2/1/2008–7/31/16 were used to fit linear regression models estimating changes in adherence (% days with ART medication fill) associated with changes in alcohol use based on annual clinically-ascertained AUDIT-C screening scores (range − 12 to + 12, 0 = no change) adjusting for demographics and initial adherence. Among 21,275 PLWH (67,330 observations), most reported no (48%) or low-level (39%) alcohol use initially, with no (55%) or small (39% ≤ 3 points) annual change. Mean initial adherence was 86% (SD 21%), mean annual change was − 3.1% (SD 21%). An inverted V-shaped association was observed: both increases and decreases in AUDIT-C were associated with greater adherence decreases relative to stable scores [p < 0.001, F (4, 21,274)]. PLWH with dynamic alcohol use (potentially indicative of alcohol use disorder) should be considered for adherence interventions.