Contribution of alcohol use in HIV/hepatitis C virus co-infection to all-cause and cause-specific mortality: A collaboration of cohort studies

J Viral Hepat. 2023 Sep;30(9):775-786. doi: 10.1111/jvh.13863. Epub 2023 Jun 20.


Among persons with HIV (PWH), higher alcohol use and having hepatitis C virus (HCV) are separately associated with increased morbidity and mortality. We investigated whether the association between alcohol use and mortality among PWH is modified by HCV. Data were combined from European and North American cohorts of adult PWH who started antiretroviral therapy (ART). Self-reported alcohol use data, collected in diverse ways between cohorts, were converted to grams/day. Eligible PWH started ART during 2001-2017 and were followed from ART initiation for mortality. Interactions between the associations of baseline alcohol use (0, 0.1-20.0, >20.0 g/day) and HCV status were assessed using multivariable Cox models. Of 58,769 PWH, 29,711 (51%), 23,974 (41%) and 5084 (9%) self-reported alcohol use of 0 g/day, 0.1-20.0 g/day, and > 20.0 g/day, respectively, and 4799 (8%) had HCV at baseline. There were 844 deaths in 37,729 person-years and 2755 deaths in 443,121 person-years among those with and without HCV, respectively. Among PWH without HCV, adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) for mortality were 1.18 (95% CI: 1.08-1.29) for 0.0 g/day and 1.84 (1.62-2.09) for >20.0 g/day compared with 0.1-20.0 g/day. This J-shaped pattern was absent among those with HCV: aHRs were 1.00 (0.86-1.17) for 0.0 g/day and 1.64 (1.33-2.02) for >20.0 g/day compared with 0.1-20.0 g/day (interaction p < .001). Among PWH without HCV, mortality was higher in both non-drinkers and heavy drinkers compared with moderate alcohol drinkers. Among those with HCV, mortality was higher in heavy drinkers but not non-drinkers, potentially due to differing reasons for not drinking (e.g. illness) between those with and without HCV.

Trial registration: NCT02149004.

Keywords: HIV; alcohol; cause-specific; cohort; hepatitis C virus; mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coinfection* / complications
  • Coinfection* / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / complications
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Hepacivirus
  • Hepatitis C* / complications
  • Hepatitis C* / epidemiology
  • Humans

Associated data