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).

Newer DAAs Better for HCV Genotype 3 vs Older Ones
Aging Accelerates Liver Fibrosis Progression Among Women with HIV/HCV

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


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.