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.


  1. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Jeffrey, alcohol and cigarettes will not effect your ARV treatment. This is as long as alcohol does not interfere with you remembering to take your ARVs. Though as with any health condition, it is great that you are now on ARVs but cutting down/stopping using alcohol and/or cigarettes will help improve your overall health.

    Link to lifestyle factors and health: https://i-base.info/guides/side/lifestyle-factors-and-your-health


    I have a week drinking arv so should I stop using alcohol or cigarettes

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Bhele,

    Alcohol doesn’t have any interested with ARVs, so it’s up to you when you decide to have a drink.


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