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Factors Associated with Bothersome Symptoms in Individuals With and Without HIV Who Report Alcohol Use

Bothersome symptoms potentially related to drinking are commonly reported by people with and without HIV (PWH/PWoH). However, the relationship between bothersome symptoms and level of alcohol use is often not appreciated by patients or providers. Therefore, among persons reporting prior-year alcohol use, we assessed whether alcohol use level (AUDIT-C score), HIV status, and demographic covariates influenced the likelihood of the patient reporting a bothersome symptom. We used the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) surveys (2002-2018), including a validated symptoms index. Among 3679 PWH and 3830 PWoH currently drinking alcohol, the most commonly reported symptoms were muscle/joint pain (52%), sleep disturbance (51%), and fatigue (50%). Level of alcohol use was independently associated with 18 of 20 bothersome symptoms, including seven symptoms more common among PWH. Results can help inform PWH/PWoH who drink alcohol about the strong relationship between level of alcohol use and bothersome symptoms, potentially motivating reduced use.

Authors: Bahji, Anees; Gordon, Kirsha S; Crystal, Stephen; Satre, Derek D; Wiliams, Emily C; Edelman, E Jennifer; Justice, Amy C

AIDS Behav. 2023 Jan 09.

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