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Alcohol and HIV The Body: Rick Sowadsky M.S.P.H., C.D.S, Answers to Safe Sex Questions

Feb 6, 1997

Hi Rick, I read somewhere in one of the Body aeticles that it would be eadier to contract HIV when someone is drunk because the body's resistance is low. Is this true? When someone is recently infected, what is the long term prognosis? Is the medical community confident that this person will live a pretty long life? Thank You!

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

The link between contracting HIV and alcohol isn't related to a weakened immune system ("resistance is low"). It's actually related to the changes in behavior that people have while under the influence of alcohol. This issue is addressed in greater detail in the question, "AIDS & SUBSTANCE ABUSE".

As treatments improve, the long-term prognosis gets better and better. However, this is not yet a manageable disease, but we are going in that direction. The key to living with HIV/AIDS is early diagnosis and treatment when indicated. Also taking medications EXACTLY as prescribed is a key to living with this disease. For more information on living with HIV, see the question, "Just tested positive".

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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