Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Some HIV patients skipping meds to drink, says study

Adjusting to life with a sexually-transmitted disease is not an easy process for any individual, but when personal choices get in the way of proper healthcare, problems could arise quickly. According to Reuters, a new study from the University of Connecticut surveyed 200 patients with HIV who were on retrovirals and drank alcohol. Surprisingly, the study found that nearly 51 percent of those patients stopped taking their medications while drinking, adhering to the erroneous belief that mixing alcohol and the drugs could lead to a toxic overdose.

"People living with HIV who deliberately stop their medications when they are drinking are at risk for treatment failure," the study researchers wrote.

The study highlights the need for better education in the healthcare field when working with HIV patients. While many doctors warn their patients against heavy drinking when taking retrovirals, this has led to an erroneous belief that combining the two could be dangerous. While doctors admit that introducing alcohol to one's system could lessen the effectiveness of the drugs, stopping them altogether could be far worse.

"The harms caused by missing their medications far outweigh the harms caused by mixing the two, if the person doesn't have liver disease," Seth Kalichman, a professor at the University of Connecticut and author of the study, told the news source.

According to HIV.VA.gov, if a person infected with HIV wishes to drink alcohol or use other types or recreational drugs, these are issues that should be brought up with one's doctor. Certain HIV medications can have unexpected side effects with substances, so it's vital for HIV patients to be completely honest with their doctors about their lifestyles to avoid any potentially life-threatening situations. HIV medications can be hard on a person's system, so respecting one's body and limiting these dangerous items could help prevent future problems.
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