September 2010
Alcohol Research & Health;2010, Vol. 33 Issue 3, p237
Academic Journal
With the advent of effective antiretroviral therapy, people infected with HIV have a longer life expectancy and, consequently, are likely to develop other chronic conditions also found in noninfected people, including cardiovascular disease (CVD). Alcohol consumption, which is common among HIV-infected people, may influence the risk of CVD. In noninfected adults, moderate alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), heart attacks, and the most common type of stroke, whereas heavy drinking increases the risk of these cardiovascular events. These relationships can be partially explained by alcohol's effects on various risk factors for CVD, including cholesterol and other lipid levels, diabetes, or blood pressure. In HIV-infected people, both the infection itself and its treatment using combination antiretroviral therapy may contribute to an increased risk of CVD by altering blood lipid levels, inducing inflammation, and impacting bloodclotting processes, all of which can enhance CVD risk. Coinfection with the hepatitis C virus also may exacerbate CVD risk. Excessive alcohol use can further enhance CVD risk in HIV-infected people through either of the mechanisms described above. In addition, excessive alcohol use (as well as HIV infection) promote microbial translocation--the leaking of bacteria or bacterial products from the intestine into the blood stream, where they can induce inflammatory and immune reactions that damage the cardiovascular system.


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