People who are HIV positive and infected with hepatitis C (HCV) could halve mortality risk by drinking three cups of coffee a day.
When you have both viruses, you’re at risk of end-stage liver disease and greater risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
But for the participants in this study, simple behavioral changes could help to make a huge difference.
In the French study investigating the relationship between drinking coffee and the risk of all-cause mortality in HIV-hepatitis C co-infected patients, it found drinking at least three cups of coffee each day halved the risk of dying.
Drinking coffee, having a steady partner and not smoking all considered positives
‘This is a very exciting time for HCV research as a cure that can eradicate the virus is now available for all patients,’ explained lead investigator Dominique Salmon-Céron.
‘However, even when cured of HCV, patients co-infected with HIV have a higher risk of death with respect to the general population, due to an accelerated aging process that may result from cancer, complications related to diabetes and to liver disease, and from cardiovascular events.’
Examining 1,028 patients living with HIV and hepatitis C over five years, they found not smoking, having a steady partner, and drinking coffee were all positive behaviors.
The mortality risk was 80% lower in those who were cured of (i.e. who ‘cleared’) hepatitis C thanks to treatment.
It wasn’t necessary to drink caffeinated coffee either.
‘I think we need to better monitor coffee consumption, together with other behaviors, such as alcohol use, smoking, physical activity, and to propose interventions to our patients which facilitate healthy behaviors even after HCV clearance,’ Dr Salmon-Céron said.
‘We also suggest that those patients who cannot tolerate a high intake of caffeine should consider drinking a few cups of decaffeinated coffee a day’
‘This is great news for those infected with HIV and hepatitis C’
Commenting on the study for Gay Star News, medical director at Terrence Higgins Trust Dr Michael Brady said: ‘There have been significant advancements in the treatment of both HIV and Hepatitis C over the last few years.
‘Effective therapy means people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives and novel hepatitis C treatments make cure from that infection a reality.
‘This is great news for those infected with either virus and, particularly, for those infected with both; like the participants in this study
‘This research highlights the importance of behavioral interventions as well as medical ones.
‘Simple things like drinking coffee (caffeinated or otherwise) can make a real difference. Greater knowledge of this, alongside improvements in other areas such as better diet, more exercise and stopping smoking, will further support people living with HIV and hepatitis C to live longer and healthier lives.’