Hepatitis C

Some Alcohol Intake OK for Women With HIV/HCV

Although heavy alcohol use accelerates liver fibrosis progression in women co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), light to moderate alcohol use does not, according to a recent study.

For their study, the researchers evaluated alcohol use and its association with fibrosis progression in 686 women with HIV/HCV co-infection. Alcohol use was recorded every 6 months. Categories of alcohol use included light use (1 to 3 drinks per week), moderate use (4 to 7 drinks per week), heavy use (more than 7 drinks per week), and very heavy use (more than 14 drinks per week).
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The researchers assessed fibrosis progression as the change in Fibrosis-4 Index for Liver Fibrosis (FIB-4) units per year.

Of all participants included in the study, 46.0% of women reported no alcohol use at baseline, while 26.8% reported light use and 7.1% reported moderate use. Of the 19.7% who reported heavy alcohol use, 6.7% reported consuming 8 to 14 drinks per week, and 13.0% reported consuming more than 14 drinks per week.

Results of multivariable analysis showed that light (0.004 FIB-4 units per year) and moderate (0.006 FIB-4 units per year) alcohol use was not associated with fibrosis progression compared with abstinence from alcohol, while consuming 8 to 14 drinks per week (0.04 FIB-4 units per year) was associated with minimal acceleration of fibrosis progression.

However, very heavy alcohol use (0.25 FIB-4 units per year) was associated with significant fibrosis progression.

“Light/moderate alcohol use was not substantially associated with accelerated fibrosis progression, whereas drinking [at least 14] drinks per week showed increased rates of fibrosis progression,” the researchers concluded. “Women with HIV/HCV infection should be counseled against heavy alcohol consumption, but complete abstinence may not be required to prevent accelerated liver fibrosis progression.”

—Christina Vogt

Reference:

Kelly EM, Dodge JL, Bacchetti P, et al. Moderate alcohol use is not associated with fibrosis progression in human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis C virus—coinfected women: a prospective cohort study. Clin Infect Dis. 2017;65(12):2050-2056. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix716.