A study led by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) provides new insight into the impact that pro-inflammatory molecules have on early death in HIV patients who abuse alcohol. The findings, published online in the journal AIDS, pinpoint the inflammatory markers most associated with early death and may help explain why some patients die earlier than others even when all of these patients are on antiretroviral therapy.
…Independently, alcohol abuse and chronic hepatitis C infection have also been associated with higher levels of inflammation in the bodies of HIV infected persons. However, it was previously unknown if the elevated inflammatory state in these patients was due to their HIV or other independent risk factors.
…Although these patients represent a population already at high risk of mortality from many problems (smoking, drug abuse, homelessness, etc.), most deaths in the study period were a result of either HIV or hepatitis C. Adjusting for known risk factors, such as age, smoking and hepatitis status, the researchers found that an increased burden of inflammation was strongly associated with increased mortality in alcohol-abusing HIV patients. This association was found, regardless of whether or not patients were taking their antiretroviral drugs.
Well, alcoholism impairs the liver, an organ responsible for detoxification and the conversion of immune-enhancing vitamin D to its active form. So, why not reasonably say that alcohol is reasonably one cause of AIDS?