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Heavy drinking can hasten the progression of the simian immunodeficiency virus disease

SIV model of HIV disease in order to more effectively isolate the effect of alcohol consumption on infectivity, pathogenesis and progression."

"The key issue with alcohol consumption and HIV/AIDS is when to start individuals on life-saving antiretrovirals versus the need to avoid their toxic effects that damage the liver and gut along with the alcohol," added Kendall Bryant, coordinator of HIV/AIDS research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "This 'set point,' which is unobserved, is not characterized by traditional measures of disease status. Dr. Bagby's research suggests that the speed of progression of AIDS at least for alcohol users is in part set by past and current drinking very early on in the disease. This tells us that we need to get HIV+ alcohol users into treatment much earlier in order to reduce their alcohol use."

For 12 weeks, study authors administered alcohol to 16 male rhesus macaques for five hours on four consecutive days per week via an indwelling intragastric catheter in order to attain a blood alcohol concentration of 0.23 to 0.28 percent. This would be considered the human equivalent of "chronic binge drinking." Control rhesus macaques (n=16 males) were given a sucrose solution under the same conditions. After three months, eight alcohol-treated and eight sucrose-treated macaques were inoculated with 10,000 times the ID50 of SIVDeltaB670 and followed to end-stage disease. Eight alcohol-treated and eight sucrose-treated macaques were not infected with SIV.

"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 l
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24-Sep-2006


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