Hazardous alcohol use by HIV-infected women is associated with poor HIV outcomes and HIV transmission risk behaviors. We examined the effectiveness of brief alcohol intervention (BI) among hazardous drinking women receiving care in an urban, HIV clinic.
Women were randomized to a 2-session BI or usual care. Outcomes assessed at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 months included 90-day frequency of any alcohol use and heavy/binge drinking (≥4 drinks per occasion), and average drinks per drinking episode. Secondary outcomes included HIV medication and appointment adherence, HIV1-RNA suppression, and days of unprotected vaginal sex. We examined intervention effectiveness using generalized mixed effect models and quantile regression.
Of 148 eligible women, 74 were randomized to each arm. In mixed effects models, 90-day drinking frequency decreased among intervention group compared to control, with women in the intervention condition less likely to have a drinking day (OR: 0.42 (95% CI: 0.23-0.75). Heavy/binge drinking days and drinks per drinking day did not differ significantly between groups. Quantile regression demonstrated a decrease in drinking frequency in the middle to upper ranges of the distribution of drinking days and heavy/binge drinking days that differed significantly between intervention and control conditions. At follow-up, the intervention group had significantly fewer episodes of unprotected vaginal sex. No intervention effects were observed for other outcomes.
Brief alcohol intervention reduces frequency of alcohol use and unprotected vaginal sex among HIV-infected women. More intensive services may be needed to lower drinks per drinking day and enhance care for more severely affected drinkers.