Project Details


There is increasing evidence that psychosocial processes influence the
immune system and that these effects may contribute to the onset and course
of disease. These factors, especially stress and depression, are common in
alcohol dependent persons and, together with the direct effects of alcohol
may seriously compromise immune function in this population. Alcohol use
is also associated with behavioral disinhibition that can increase high
risk behaviors linked to the transmission of HIV. The co-occurrence of
these factors in alcoholics may pose a substantial public health threat.
The implications of these interactions are particularly serious in inner
city settings where the prevalence of HIV is high. Research is therefore
urgently needed to understand factors that may contribute to the spread of
HIV in high risk groups such as inner city alcoholics.

The overall goal of the proposed research is to investigate the
psychoimmunology of inner city alcoholics at risk for AIDS by: 1.
comparing immune function in inner city alcohol-dependent subjects with
that of matched controls; 2. assessing the immune effects of specific
characteristics of alcoholics, including alcohol use, stress and
depression; and, 3. concurrently assessing high risk behaviors for HIV
transmission and the determinants of such behaviors.

150 alcohol-dependent patients enrolled in an ambulatory alcohol treatment
program who have not abused other substances and 150 matched study controls
will be studied utilizing both a cross-sectional and longitudinal study
design. Patients with medical disorders, compromised hepatic function,
positive for HIV-1 antibody, or using other medications or drugs will be
excluded. Subjects will be interviewed concerning patterns of alcohol use,
life stress, and depression, screening physical examinations and
chemistries will be obtained, and blood drawn for a battery of in vitro
immune measures. High risk sexual behaviors for HIV transmission and HIV
attitudes, beliefs and peer norms will be documented. Subjects and
controls will be re-assessed at 1 and 3 months. Multivariate techniques
will analyze the psychoimmunologic and other behavioral relationships.
Effective start/end date8/1/907/31/96


  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Infectious Diseases


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