Q and A


Can I drink alcohol with Atripla?

Does ‘an empty stomach’ mean no drinking alcohol either? And if so what are the consequences? Could one develop resistance or stop the medication from working at their full potential by drinking alcohol? I have been on Atripla for the last three years and although I am careful not to eat for at least two hours before I take my meds I have a glass or two of wine (sometimes three). Should I worry? Thank you


Thank you for your question.

Drinking wine before taking Atripla will not cause resistance to the medication. If you forget to take the medication because you have drunk too much wine it may cause resistance.

Drinking alcohol will not stop the medication from working. The recommendation to take Atripla on an empty stomach is to reduce side effects to the medication such as nausea, dizziness, trouble sleeping and so on. Excessive alcohol consumption can sometimes make these side effects more severe.

Alcohol in moderation should be fine. Excessive use of alcohol can cause problems. As with all medications, HIV treatment is filtered from the blood by the liver. Excessive drinking can cause damage to liver which can be more severe if you are on HIV medication.

Information on this website is provided by treatment advocates and offered as a guide only. Decisions about your treatment should always be taken in consultation with your doctor.


  1. Hi Virtues, once your viral load is undetectable, the risk you your partner becomes close to zero. You viral load might already be undetectable or very low, and hopefully it will be there in a few more weeks. I can’t comment on the other problems. Sex should be consensual. If the relationship with your partner is serious, then at some time you are likely to need to discuss this. See this report for more details:

  2. Virtues

    Hi everyone!
    I was tested positive in may 2016 with CD4 418 and unknown VL. My partner was negative, but I never revealed her my status. We were always having safe sex until she got tested. Then she forced me having unprotected sex while I was on my third week on Atripla. She was always forcing me to do so and that the reason why she got tested to show me she was safe, but never required me to do the same. I couldn’t also tell her the obvious reason that I didn’t want to infect her because of stigmatization… we’ve been having interrupted intercourses (I don’t cum in her) while I stuck to my treatment. I don’t also see how I can reveal my status so far. What are dangers? Please, help!

  3. Anyone on PEP to prevent HIV is recommended to only have safe sex with other partners in case they are HIV positive.

  4. rachel

    I had unprotected sex with an HIV positive person unaware, but I’m not HIV positive. Then i immediately take Atripla. So what can happen should i have unprotected sex with a HIV negative person whilst on the 30 days medication?

  5. Hi Muule,
    Changes in sex drive are not usually linked to HIV medications, but many HIV positive people do report these types of problem. There is a page about this on our website here. Please have a look there and then let me know if you have any questions or would like any further information.

  6. Muule

    I do lose appetite for sex in the morning after i have been taking atripla for almost a year. Is it becuase of the medicine or what?

  7. Nonhla

    I dont know if u can assist me. I hav been taking Atripla for 9months now but my problem i am gaining alot of weight on my upper body and my legs are also thinning. I have tried to exercise but my body i losing shape and its causing a lot of stress for me. Now is there anything i can do or medication i can take to make this side effect go away.

  8. Hi Nonhla,

    The body shape changes you have described may be a side effect called lipodystrophy. This is explained here in our side effects guide.

    It’s important to talk to your doctor about these shape changes. If s/he does think you are experiencing lipodystrophy you may need to change to a different medication and/or get treatment for this.

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