News Release

LSU Health NO to study exercise to reduce metabolic disorders risk in HIV+ people who drink

Grant and Award Announcement

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

New Orleans, LA - Patricia Molina, MD, PhD, Professor and Head of Physiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has been awarded a grant in the amount of $390,532 over two years to test the effectiveness of physical exercise to improve the regulation of blood sugar levels in people living with HIV/AIDS who also use alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism awarded the competitive grant.

With advancement of anti-retroviral therapy, HIV infection has emerged as a chronic disease leading to an enhanced risk for other conditions such as myopathy (muscle disorders), insulin resistance and pre-diabetes. Risk factors for these conditions include hazardous alcohol consumption.

"Persons living with HIV are at higher risk for developing diabetes mellitus," notes Dr. Molina, who is also the Director of the LSU Health New Orleans Alcohol and Drug Abuse Center of Excellence. "Chronic alcohol misuse further increases that risk. The studies will select persons at high risk for developing diabetes and test an exercise program to improve health and decrease risk for diabetes. These studies are important because they will decrease the burden of disease in this vulnerable population."

The LSU Health New Orleans research team will conduct prospective studies to test the prediction that a higher proportion of HIV+ individuals with hazardous alcohol drinking will be found to have impaired oral glucose tolerance and dysfunctional metabolic skeletal muscle and whether an aerobic exercise regimen can improve their glycemic control.

"Results will be used to guide larger scale interventions to reduce concurrent metabolic disorders, improve health, quality of life, and possibly decrease hazardous alcohol drinking," Molina concludes.

Chronic alcohol consumption is the most common and costly form of substance abuse in the United States and is highly prevalent in persons living with HIV/AIDS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, the South accounted for 52% of the new AIDS diagnoses in the United States and 53% of the deaths in 2014. Overall, an American has a 1 in 99 chance of being diagnosed with HIV at some point in his or her life. In Louisiana in 2016, that risk was 1 in 56.


LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana's health care professionals. The state's health sciences university leader, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine, the state's only School of Dentistry, Louisiana's only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSUHSC faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSUHSC research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact. LSUHSC faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit, or

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