Heavy Drinking Might Hasten HIV Progression

For those of you who follow politics, keep the macaca jokes to yourself:

“There are two key findings,” said Bagby. “First, chronic binge alcohol consumption accelerated time to AIDS of rhesus macaques infected with SIV, a virus that mimics what happens to humans infected with HIV. The average time to end-stage disease was decreased from 900 days in control animals to 374 days in the alcohol-treated rhesus monkeys. Second, animals receiving alcohol had higher viral loads in the blood in the early months after being infected with the virus. This higher viral load is associated with more rapid disease progression in both SIV-infected rhesus macaques and HIV-infected humans. Because SIV infection in rhesus macaques is so similar to what happens in HIV infected humans, we can expect that alcohol would have similar consequences in humans.”