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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Biomarker Testing to Estimate Under-Reported Heavy Alcohol Consumption by Persons with HIV Initiating ART in Uganda

  • Author(s): Hahn, Judith A.
  • Bwana, Mwebesa B.
  • Javors, Martin A.
  • Martin, Jeffrey N.
  • Emenyonu, Nneka I.
  • Bangsberg, David R.
  • et al.

Alcohol affects the transmission and treatment of HIV, yet may be under-reported in resource-limited settings. We compared self-reported alcohol consumption with levels of plasma carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (%CDT), a biomarker of heavy alcohol consumption, in persons initiating antiretroviral therapy in Uganda. Almost seven percent (6.7%) of persons reporting abstaining and 10% reporting consuming 1–40 drinks in the prior month tested positive for %CDT, and actual under-report may be higher due to low sensitivity of %CDT. These results suggest likely under-report in those reporting abstaining and current drinking. Improved identification of heavy alcohol consumption is needed for research and clinical purposes.

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