Any level of alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk for advanced hepatic fibrosis among patients with HIV, chronic HCV and/or both, according to researchers.

Joseph K. Lim, MD, of Yale University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the Veterans Aging Cohort Study including 1,410 patients with HIV, 296 patients with HVC, 701 patients coinfected with HIV/HCV and 1,158 without HIV or HCV. All patients reported alcohol consumption at study enrollment.   

Researchers used the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test–Consumption (AUDIT-C) questionnaire to determine alcohol-consumption category. Alcohol-related diagnoses were classified as nonhazardous drinking, hazardous/binge drinking or alcohol-related diagnosis.

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As the level of alcohol consumption increased, the prevalence for advanced hepatic fibrosis increased across all HIV/HCV groups, the researchers found.  

Advanced hepatic fibrosis was more common among patients with HIV vs. patients without HIV (6.7% vs. 1.4% for the nonhazardous category; 9.5% vs. 3% for the hazardous/binge category; and 19% vs. 8.6% for the alcohol-related diagnosis category; P<0.01).   

Additionally, patients with HCV were more likely to have advanced hepatic fibrosis when compared with patients without HCV (13.6% vs. 2.5% for the nonhazardous category; 18.2% vs. 3.1% for the hazardous/binge category; and 22.1% vs. 6.5% for the alcohol-related diagnosis category; P<0.01).

Researchers also observed a significant association between advanced hepatic fibrosis among those with HIV/HCV coinfection for nonhazardous drinking (14.2%; 95% CI: 5.91-34), hazardous/binge drinking (18.9%; 95% CI: 7.98-44.8) and alcohol-related diagnoses (25.2%; 95% CI: 10.6-59.7) when compared with uninfected patients who were categorized as nonhazardous drinkers.

“All alcohol use categories were strongly associated with advanced hepatic fibrosis in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients,” Lim and colleagues wrote.


  1. Lim JK. Clin Infect Dis. 2014;58:1449–1458.


Klein, Lim and Re have received research grant support, and consultant and speaker fees from several pharmaceutical companies. See the full study for full financial disclosures.