Q and A


Does HIV affect the liver?

I wonder if you can tell, does having HIV affect your liver?

The hospital have said they need to do regular LFTs. I do not have hepatitis. Thank you


Checking regularly your liver function is really important and your hospital is right to insist on that, even if you do not have hepatitis. Firstly, it is a good clinical practice, then it is always better to be regularly monitored as if some health problems appear, you will be able to react quicker and avoid complications.

HIV (if not treated with ARVs) can cause liver problems on its own. ARVs have a protective function in that respect. You can see more about the liver monitoring tests here.


  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Rex,

    I’m really sorry but this isn’t something that I can help you with as its not possible to predict how long someone will live for. Are you having treatment for the liver issue?

  2. Rex

    I’m 58 yr old Male, HIV pos. Just diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver end stage 3 or f3.
    How long do I really have to live?
    I’m a long term survivor with the hiv diagnosed in 92 currently on meds and undetectable.

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Vusi,

    Are you taking HIV meds (ART)? Once you’re taking ART and your viral load is undetectable you can have a life expectancy similar to if you were HIV negative.

    Alcohol might not react with HIV meds but drinking a lot means that people sometimes forget to take them. Any other meds you take, including vitamins, supplements and recreational drugs can interact with some HIV meds.

    Do you have support where you live? If you live in South Africa you can contact TAC. TAC stands for the Treatment Action Campaign. This is the largest HIV positive support organisation in South Africa and they were responsible for the drive to get ARVs available in SA.

    The main office is in Cape Town, but there are support groups and branches across the country, including in Jo’burg.

    They also publish an excellent newsletter every three months, called “Equal Treatment”. This is available in English, Xhosa, Zulu and Tsonga.

  4. vusi

    Hi doc: i am boy with 23 years old and i am hiv positive i used to drink alot and have few pills of ecstasy how long i am going to survive


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