REFERENCE: Molgaard, C. A., Nakamura, C., Hovell, M., Elder, J. P. (1988). Assessing alcoholism as a risk factor for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Social Science & Medicine, 27, 1147-1152.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is characterized by a range of risk factors that determine susceptibility to HIV and the clinical expression of the disease. These include sexual practices, intravenous drug use, and blood exchange. Appropriate preventive measures have been formulated for these risk factors. This paper reviews alcohol abuse as a prominent feature of the homosexual experience, and suggests that it may merit consideration as a risk factor in relation to AIDS. The presumably high prevalence of alcohol abuse among homosexuals and the damaging effects of alcohol on the immune system are discussed as a basis for linking alcoholism, homosexuality, and AIDS. The implications of the potentiating effects of alcohol misuse as the human immunodeficiency virus infiltrates the heterosexual population are presented in terms of high risk populations and the need for additional preventive measures.