Would you like coffee or tea? It’s a divisive query, but for HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) patients especially, studies suggest that the answer should hands-down be coffee. The caffeinated drink has shown to provide numerous health benefits for drinkers of all demographics; but this new study suggests that the benefits for those infected with both HIV and HCV are tenfold.
It seems that drinking at least three cups of coffee per day could halve the risk of death from all causes for those infected with both HIV and HCV. The study showed that even after the HCV infection was quelled with antiviral treatment, the health benefits persisted.
The results, published in the Journal of Hepatology, provide hope for those living with HIV, a chronic and incurable illness. A beverage that’s readily available in excess for the average American could yield promising results for their mortality.
“However,” Dr. Salmon-Céron, lead author of the study, reminded readers, “even when cured of HCV, patients co-infected with HIV have a higher risk of death with respect to the general population.” Coffee doesn’t cure HIV — it could simply prolong your life while infected with it.
The study followed 1,028 adults infected with both HIV and HCV, requesting that they complete questionnaires intermittently throughout the study. Of the participants, 26.6 percent reported drinking three cups or more of coffee per day — and in this group, the risk of death was 50 percent lower than the risk for the rest of the study population.
“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,” says Salmon-Céron. “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.”
Decaf coffee has many of the same health benefits as the normal stuff, since it contains the same antioxidants in its brew. The antioxidant power of each cup contributes to coffee’s ability to prevent at least 11 diseases, in addition to death from HIV.