A glass

of wine (175ml) contains approximately 159 calories

HIV AND ALCOHOL

Can I drink alcohol if I have HIV?

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 too much. You can take a short quiz to find out if your alcohol intake is within the safe limits.

Reasons why you shouldn't drink too much

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.

Am I Drinking Too Much Alcohol?

Use the quiz to learn about the impact of alcohol on your health.

Am I Drinking Too Much Alcohol?

Use the quiz to learn about the impact of alcohol on your health.


Alcohol units

How often do you have an alcoholic drink?

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How many units of alcohol do you drink on a typical day when you are drinking?

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How often have you had 8 or more units on a single occasion in the last year?

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How often have you found that you were not able to stop drinking once you had started?

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How often during the last year have you failed to do what was normally expected from you because of your drinking?

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How often during the last year have you needed an alcoholic drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?

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How often during the last year have you had a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking?

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How often during the last year have you been unable to remember what happened the night before because you had been drinking?

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Have you or somebody else been injured as a result of your drinking?

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Has a relative or friend, healthcare team or other health worker been concerned about your drinking or suggested that you cut down?

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Results

 
6
Tips

For Cutting Down Your Alcohol Intake

  1. Set yourself a daily limit and stick to it
  2. Do more activities that don't involve drinking
  3. Try other ways to unwind or relax
  1. Choose low-alcohol drinks
    Like shandy or spritzer, or smaller measures
  2. Alternate alcoholic drinks
    With soft drinks or water
  3. Talk to your healthcare team
    If you think you may be dependent on alcohol for further advice