Since my hepatitis C cleared after treatment with direct-acting antivirals, my liver went back to normal. My alcohol habits regressed somewhat too. I stopped drinking entirely when I was infected with hep, but now I’ve gone back to drinking a glass or two of wine on the weekend or when guests come by for dinner. Still, I remain wary about alcohol. I usually enjoy my beverage as a spritzer: half wine, half soda water.
For those whose hep is yet to be cured even that much alcohol can accelerate the rate of liver damage. By how much? It’s impossible to predict. Yet some averages are known:
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the average man who is infected at age 40 or later and drinks a lot can expect a cirrhotic liver in thirteen years. The slowest progression occurs among non-drinking women under 40 who contract the disease early. It can take 40 years before their disease turns deadly.
But again, those are averages and everyone is different. The best bet for anyone who has hep is to drink no alcohol at all. For those who have been cured, be very cautious.