HIV AND ALCOHOL
You don’t need to stop drinking altogether, but there are things about alcohol to keep in mind. Here you can find out how you can still enjoy a night out whilst maintaining a strong immune system. Limiting the amount of alcohol you consume can have great benefits for your overall health.
CAN I DRINK ALCOHOL IF I HAVE HIV?
Yes. Unless you have been specifically advised not to drink by your healthcare team, it is generally fine to drink a beer or small glass of wine each day. However, there is some evidence that suggests it can be more harmful to drink alcohol when living with HIV than for people who are not living with HIV. So, it is really important to adhere to guidelines and drink no more than 14 units per week, which is the same advice given to the general population.
It is good to be aware of the negative side-effects of drinking alcohol. You can take a short quiz to find out your consumption level and what you could do next to improve your overall health.
REASONS WHY YOU SHOULDN’T DRINK TOO MUCH
IT CAN LEAD TO EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
Heavy drinking and alcohol dependency are common among people living with HIV.
If you are struggling to cope, you should speak to your healthcare team about what psychological support is available to you.
DRINKING TOO MUCH ALCOHOL WEAKENS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
This can leave people living with HIV open to infections, as their immune system is already working hard to fight HIV.
ALCOHOL CAN DAMAGE THE LIVER
This is important to be aware of if you’re living with HIV or other infections such as Hepatitis C or B, as alcohol can change the way medications are broken down, preventing them from working as well as they should or cause unwanted side effects.
YOUR DECISION-MAKING CAN BE IMPAIRED
You may be more likely to take part in high-risk activities, such as unprotected sex. You may also miss or forget to take your medications, which can have a negative impact on your HIV management.