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HIV infection and drugs of abuse such as methamphetamine (METH), cocaine, and alcohol use have been identified as risk factors for triggering inflammation. Acute phase proteins such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid A (SAA) are the biomarkers of inflammation. Hence, the interactive effect of drugs of abuse with acute phase proteins in HIV-positive subjects was investigated.


Plasma samples were utilized from 75 subjects with METH use, cocaine use, alcohol use, and HIV-positive alone and HIV-positive METH, cocaine, and alcohol users, and age-matched control subjects. The plasma CRP and SAA levels were measured by ELISA and western blot respectively and the CD4 counts were also measured.


Observed results indicated that the CRP and SAA levels in HIV-positive subjects who are METH, cocaine and alcohol users were significantly higher when compared with either drugs of abuse or HIV-positive alone. The CD4 counts were also dramatically reduced in HIV-positive with drugs of abuse subjects compared with only HIV-positive subjects.


These results suggest that, in HIV-positive subjects, drugs of abuse increase the levels of CRP and SAA, which may impact on the HIV infection and disease progression.


This article was originally published in Biomed Central Journal of Neuroinflammation 2013, 10:113 doi:10.1186/1742-2094-10-113.

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