Q and A


Can I drink alcohol with ARVs?

I have started ART a month ago. Before that I used to drink alcohol quite often.

Since I started ART, I try to not drink. But, I still want to.

Can I drink alcohol?


In general, one or two drink is likely to be fine, if this is something you enjoy. There are no interactions between alcohol and ARVs.

More heavy drinking however can lead to missing doses of your ARVs. This can cause your treatment to fail. This means that if you have a drink, make sure you find a way to not miss any of your meds. Moderation is important.

Two other concerns are important for people living with HIV:

  1. Alcohol can also make efavirenz side effects worse, in particular feeling dizzy, so be careful about this.
  2. Alcohol can make hepatitis or other liver complications progress more quickly. Alcohol is not recommended if you have hepatitis. See this information from the guide to HIV and hepatitis C:

The NHS website has a lot of information about alcohol. This is important whether you are HIV positive or HIV negative. See:
http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/Alcohol/Pages/Alcoholhome.aspx, and

In the UK, the NHS recommendations for alcohol are:

  • Men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day. This is only 1-2 pints of lager – ie one strong drink.
  • Women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day
  • If you’ve had a heavy drinking session, avoid alcohol for 48 hours.

“Regularly” means drinking this amount every day or most days of the week.


This question from 2008 was updated in September 2014.

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. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Bridgette,

    As the above post explains, there aren’t interactions between alcohol and ARVs.

  2. Bridgette

    I started ARVs 6 months back can I take alcohol?

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Eric,

    If you want to drink that’s OK, and that’s even with a CD4 of less than 200. For more info please see the posts in this feed.

  4. eric

    Can I take alcohol when the CD4 count is less than 200?

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Mduduzi,

    As long as your drinking doesn’t interfere with you taking your ARVs, then yes, its fine to still drink alcohol.

    Because you’ve just start meds, you might find the following helpful:


  6. Mduduzi

    I jst started my treatment yesterday, so can I still HV my alcohol?

  7. bill


  8. martin

    thanx for the advice.

  9. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Celuxolo,

    As long as your drinking doesn’t interfere with you taking your meds, then there’s no problem with you having a glass of wine.

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