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Industrialized countries are currently experiencing an epidemic of high blood pressure (HBP) extending to people living with HIV (PLWH). Given the prevalence of hazardous alcohol use (HAU), this study examines the relationship between alcohol consumption and hypertension in PLWH. Including a gender analysis is critical, given the high rates of HAU and HIV among females.


We followed PLWH including both HAU and non-HAU (200 each). Participants were assessed twice for body weight, blood pressure, alcohol consumption, and other BP-associated lifestyle factors. High blood pressure (defined as systolic/diastolic blood pressure above 140/90 mmHg and/or treatment of HBP) was the primary outcome.


Overall prevalence of hypertension was 38% and higher among HAU compared to non-HAU (42% vs. 34%, p = 0.02). Less than half with HBP (42%) were receiving treatment for hypertension. Overall, males had a 50% higher risk of HBP than women (odds ratio: 1.5, 95% CI: 1–2.6, p = 0.05). However among HAU, females were twice as likely to suffer HBP as their male counterparts (95% CI: 1–3.9, p = 0.02). Those HAU who preferred liquor, versus wine, had higher adjusted mean BP (132.6±18 vs. 122.3±14 mm Hg, p = 0.05). Additional analyses indicated that consumption of >1 standard drink of liquor or beer/day was associated with HBP. Risk of hypertension was noted in those with daily consumption of >3 glasses of wine. For those reportingday, the odds ratio of having HBP was 0.97 (CI: 0.6–0.99, p = 0.05). Factors associated with hypertension in the multivariate model included increased age, gender, BMI, HAU particularly of liquor, and smoking.


Excessive hypertension burden in this population and its association with HAU and sub-optimal care indicate the need for preventive and educational intervention in PLWH. Analyses highlight the necessity of gender and type-of-beverage specific approaches.


Originally published in PLoS One.

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