Alcohol consumption and neurocognitive deficits in people with well-treated HIV in Switzerland.

Darling, Katharine E A; Locatelli, Isabella; Benghalem, Nadia; Nadin, Isaure; Calmy, Alexandra; Gutbrod, Klemens; Hauser, Christoph; Brugger, Peter; Hasse, Barbara; Kovari, Helen; Kunze, Ursi; Stoeckle, Marcel; Fux, Christophe; Rossi, Stefania; Di Benedetto, Caroline; Früh, Severin; Schmid, Patrick; Tarr, Philip E; Daeppen, Jean-Bernard; Du Pasquier, Renaud; ... (2021). Alcohol consumption and neurocognitive deficits in people with well-treated HIV in Switzerland. PLoS ONE, 16(3), e0246579. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0246579

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Hazardous alcohol consumption and HIV infection increase the risk of neurocognitive impairment (NCI). We examined the association between alcohol consumption and specific neurocognitive domain function in people with HIV (PWH) taking modern antiretroviral therapy.


The Neurocognitive Assessment in the Metabolic and Aging Cohort (NAMACO) study is a prospective, longitudinal, multicentre and multilingual (French, German and Italian) study of patients aged ≥45 years old enrolled in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS). Baseline data from 981 study participants were examined. Five neurocognitive domains were evaluated: motor skills, speed of information processing, attention/working memory, executive function and verbal episodic memory. NCI was examined as binary (presence/absence) and continuous (mean z-score) outcomes against Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test for Consumption (AUDIT-C) scores using logistic and linear regression models, respectively.


Most participants (96.2%) had undetectable viral loads and 64% were aged >50 years old. Hazardous alcohol consumption was observed in 49.4% of participants and binge drinking in 4.2%. While alcohol consumption frequency and quantity were not associated with NCI, the practice of binge drinking was significantly associated with impaired motor skills and overall neurocognitive function in both binary (odds ratio, OR ≥2.0, P <0.05) and continuous (mean z-score difference -0.2 to -0.4, P ≤0.01) outcomes. A significant U-shaped distribution of AUDIT-C score was also observed for motor skills and overall neurocognitive function.


In this cohort of PWH with well-controlled HIV infection, NCI was associated with the practice of binge drinking rather than alcohol consumption frequency or quantity. Longitudinal analysis of alcohol consumption and NCI in this population is currently underway.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Infectiology

UniBE Contributor:

Gutbrod, Klemens and Hauser, Christoph Victor


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Public Library of Science




Annelies Luginbühl

Date Deposited:

19 Apr 2021 16:17

Last Modified:

25 Apr 2021 03:05

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