Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention to Improve HIV Medication Adherence Among Hazardous Drinkers: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective:

To assess the efficacy of a behavioral intervention designed to improve HIV medication adherence and reduce alcohol consumption among HIV-positive men and women.

Design:

A randomized controlled trial conducted between July 2002 and August 2005.

Setting:

A behavioral research center in New York City.

Participants:

HIV-positive men and women (n = 143) who were on HIV antiretroviral medication and met criteria for hazardous drinking.

Intervention:

Participants were randomly assigned to an 8-session intervention based on motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral skills building or a time- and content-equivalent educational condition.

Outcome Measures:

Viral load, CD4 cell count, and self-reported adherence and drinking behavior were assessed at baseline and at 3- and 6-month follow-ups.

Results:

Relative to the education condition, participants in the intervention demonstrated significant decreases in viral load and increases in CD4 cell count at the 3-month follow-up and significantly greater improvement in percent dose adherence and percent day adherence. There were no significant intervention effects for alcohol use, however, and effects on viral load, CD4 cell count, and adherence were not sustained at 6 months.

Conclusions:

An 8-session behavioral intervention can result in improvement in self-report and biologic markers of treatment adherence and disease progression. This type of intervention should be considered for dissemination and integration into HIV clinics providing comprehensive care for HIV-positive persons with alcohol problems. Although the effect was attenuated over time, future studies might test the added effectiveness of booster sessions or ongoing adherence counseling.

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