Public Health

30-Day Drinking History Predicts Liver Disease Status Among Patients With HIV

Current alcohol consumption is associated with advanced markers of liver disease among individuals with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), according to new data.

“Results indicate a greater association of current alcohol use with liver disease than lifetime alcohol use, which varied by HCV status,” the researchers wrote. “These findings stress the importance of reducing alcohol use in [people living with HIV] to decrease risk of liver disease and fibrosis.”

To conduct their study, the researchers assessed alcohol use among 353 participants in the New Orleans Alcohol Use in HIV study. A majority of the participants was Black (83.9%), and the average age of participants was 48.3 ±10.3 years.

Lifetime Drinking History, a 30-day Timeline Followback calendar, the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test, and phosphatidylethanol were used to evaluate alcohol use.

The researchers then compared alcohol use to liver disease status by estimating participants’ alanine aminotransferase level, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) level, AST platelet ratio-index (APRI), fibrosis-4 index (FIB-4), and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease-fibrosis score.

Overall, among participants with HIV and a Lifetime Drinking History of 100 to 600 kg, Lifetime Drinking History was significantly associated with advanced liver fibrosis.

Compared with participants with HIV only, participants with HIV and hepatitis C had a higher prevalence of intermediate and advanced liver disease markers.

“Advanced markers of liver disease were most strongly associated with hazardous drinking (≥40(women)/60(men) grams/day) (APRI aOR = 15.87 (3.22–78.12); FIB-4 aOR = 6.76 (1.81–7.16)) and PEth ≥400 ng/ml (APRI aOR = 17.52 (2.55–120.54); FIB-4 aOR = 17.75 (3.30–95.630),” the researchers wrote.

—Amanda Balbi


Ferguson TF, Rosen E, Carr E, et al. Associations of liver disease with alcohol use among people living with HIV and the role of hepatitis C: The New Orleans Alcohol Use in HIV Study. Alcohol Alcohol. 2020;55(1):28-36.