Many skip their HIV meds when they drink. Here’s why this is a mistake.
In the ongoing struggle to improve adherence to HIV medications, alcohol has long been an obvious crux standing in the way of progress. Brian Risley, manager of the treatment education program at AIDS Project Los Angeles, says some of the common refrains he hears from his HIV-positive clients are, “They got drunk, they forgot to take their meds; they went home with somebody and they didn’t bring any meds with them.”
Now cutting-edge research has teased out a new component of booze’s detrimental effects on health outcomes: the fact that many people with HIV skip their meds on purpose when they are drinking because they falsely believe that antiretrovirals (ARVs) and alcohol are a toxic mix.