Three Cups of Joe Per Day Cuts Mortality Risk in Half Among HIV, HCV Co-Infected Patients

Promotion of healthy lifestyle changes are crucial among HIV-positive patients cured of hepatitis C.

Drinking at least 3 cups of coffee per day reduced the risk of all-cause mortality by half in patients co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), new findings show.

Coffee has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects due to the properties of polyphenols in coffee that reduce inflammation and protect the liver.

The study, published in the Journal of Hepatology, is the first to examine the relationship between coffee consumption and all-cause mortality risk in HIV-HCV co-infected patients.

“This is a very exciting time for HCV research as a cure that can eradicate the virus is now available for all patients,” said lead investigator Dominique Salmon-Céron, MD, PhD. “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.”

For the study, investigators used data from a 5-year follow-up comprising 1028 HIV-HCV co-infected patients from the ANRS CO13-HEPAVIH cohort, an ongoing French nationwide prospective cohort that collects medical and psychosocial/behavior data over time from co-infected individuals.

The data showed 1 of 4 patients reported drinking at least 3 cups of coffee per day at the start of enrollment. Over a 5-year period, there were 77 deaths, with almost half attributable to HCV. In patients who were cured of HCV, the mortality risk was 80% lower.

Upon further investigation, scientists found that drinking a minimum of 3 cups of coffee per day was associated with a 50% reduction in mortality risk. The findings remained even after adjusting for HCV clearance, HIV-HCV-related factors, and other sociobehavioral factors.

The findings highlight the importance of physicians promoting a healthy lifestyle change for patients after clearing HCV.

First author Maria Patrizia Carrieri, PhD, of the HEPAVIH study group, noted that the protective effects of coffee consumption were higher in the HIV-HCV population than in the general population.

“The results of our study show that while curing HCV is fundamental, it must be complemented by behavioral changes if we are to improve health and survival in HIV-infected patients whether or not they cleared HCV,” Dr Salmon-Céron said. “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. 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.

“Accordingly, I believe that the benefits of coffee extracts and supplementing dietary intake with other anti-inflammatory compounds need to be evaluated in HIV-HCV patients.”