Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Charlotte Gore

Second Advisor

Rowena Elliott

Advisor Department



According to the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH), alcohol consumption causes more than 2.5 million deaths annually. This organization also attributes more than sixty different diseases in which alcoholism plays a significant role. Such diseases include the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (WHO, 2014). There are over 50,000 new cases of HIV reported each year. In the United States, it is estimated that more than 1.1 million people are infected with HIV, and about one in six people are completely unaware that they are infected (, 2013). A systematic literature review was done on twenty different studies to see the effects that the consumption of alcohol may have on adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and the progression of HIV. This literature review examined these effects by looking at CD4+ cell levels, viral load, disease progression, and early mortality rates. In the results, it was shown that there may be a possible correlation between the consumption of alcohol and HAART non-adherence, as well as the consumption of alcohol causing disease progression and early death. This review also found that several different studies considered HAART non-adherence to be a multifactorial issue, which should be further researched to help with the treatment of HIV. In conclusion, an assessment of the consumption of alcohol should be done in all patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Patient teaching is needed to teach about the possible effects that alcohol may have on HAART, and referral to support groups is needed to help with adherence to HAART therapy. Prevention strategies should be formed to help decrease the spread of HIV/AIDS in the United States.