Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco) (02.23.12) - Monday,
The San Francisco AIDS Foundation's Feb. 16 "HIVision"
community forum focused on alcohol use by people with HIV. In
the gay community, too many men are under the influence of
alcohol or another substance when having sex, panelists said.
Under the influence, people tend to engage in sex more often
and are less likely to use condoms or use them correctly,
attendees of the SFAF forum at the LGBT Community Center
"[Alcohol] has a big impact on many organs of the body if used
to excess," said Dr. Susan Buchbinder, director of research at
the city Department of Public Health's HIV prevention section.
"It interacts with medications and how one metabolizes those
medications." A larger issue could be if those who drink too
much are failing to take their medication, she said.
Doctors report less trouble getting hard-core drug users'
viral loads down to undetectable levels than for those who
abuse alcohol. Patients with severe alcohol addiction are some
of the hardest cases in which to get viral loads under
control, panelists noted.
"In a routine HIV appointment with a provider, there just is
no time to ask about drinking or the consequences involved,"
said E. Maxwell Davis, an assistant professor at California
State University-East Bay and panel moderator. "About 13
percent of people living with HIV would be qualified as
alcohol dependent," said Davis.
Over the next year and a half, the Stop AIDS Project � part of
SFAF � will conduct the "Pacing Alcohol Consumption
Experiment" at three Castro bars and one in South of Market.
Participants at these establishments are asked to take a five-
minute exit survey, a Breathalyzer test and a follow-up online
survey to help gauge gay men's patterns of alcohol use and