Purpose of review: Alcohol and noninjection drug use has been shown to be associated with increased risk of HIV infection in select populations. In this review, we discuss recent data on the prevalence of alcohol and noninjection drug use and the relationship to HIV acquisition and transmission risk.
Recent findings: A strong association between alcohol use and HIV-infection risk has been demonstrated in multiple studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa. Among men who have sex with men in the USA as well as other countries, substance use is highly prevalent and has been associated with high-risk sexual behavior. Substance use, mental health problems, and sexual risk behaviors conjoin in what is known as a syndemic to increase HIV risk among young men who have sex with men. Only a limited number of intervention studies provide promising results in reducing HIV-infection risk among substance users.
Summary: Alcohol and noninjection drug use is prevalent in certain populations. There is a strong association between use of alcohol and noninjecting substances, including methamphetamines, amyl nitrates, cocaine, and other drugs, and HIV-infection risk. This underscores the need for a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy that addresses substance use, including screening and behavioral intervention, among those at risk.