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Drinking, Even Casual Amounts, Poses Much Greater Risk for Advanced Liver Disease in HIV/Hepatitis C Patients

May 5, 2014

This article was reported by Science Daily.

Science Daily reported on a study of the effect of alcohol on liver disease in people with HIV and chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection. Joseph K. Lim, MD, of Yale University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Connecticut Healthcare System; senior author Vincent Lo Re III, MD, MSCE, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania and an infectious disease physician at the VA Medical Center in Philadelphia; and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study of participants from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study.

Of 7,270 participants, 701 were HIV/HCV-coinfected, 1,410 were HIV-positive, 296 were HCV-infected and 1,158 were uninfected with either virus. Participants completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption questionnaire and, based on the results, researchers classified their drinking as alcohol abuse/dependence, nonhazardous drinking, hazardous/binge drinking, and alcohol-related diagnosis.

The researchers found that despite participants' HIV or HCV status, liver fibrosis increased in relation to alcohol use. Coinfected patients, regardless of level of alcohol use, had the strongest associations compared with uninfected nonhazardous drinkers. The association between alcohol use and fibrosis increased in people with HIV/HCV coinfection, and even light nonhazardous drinking was linked to higher risk of liver fibrosis in coinfected individuals.

The full report, "Relationship Between Alcohol Use Categories and Noninvasive Markers of Advanced Hepatic Fibrosis in HIV-Infected, Chronic Hepatitis C Virus-Infected, and Uninfected Patients," was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases (2014; 58 (10):1449).

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