Self-reported alcohol abstinence associated with ART initiation among HIV-infected persons in rural Uganda

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014 Jan 1;134:151-157. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.09.025. Epub 2013 Oct 5.


Background: There is limited data on the impact of anti-retroviral treatment (ART) initiation on alcohol consumption. We characterized predictors of abstaining from alcohol among HIV-infected individuals following ART initiation.

Methods: We analyzed data from a prospective cohort of HIV-infected adults in Mbarara, Uganda with quarterly measures of self-reported alcohol consumption, socio-demographics, health status, and blood draws. We used pooled logistic regression to evaluate predictors of becoming abstinent from alcohol for at least 90 days after baseline.

Results: Among the 502 participants, 108 (21.5%) were current drinkers who consumed alcohol within 90 days of baseline, 206 (41.0%) were former drinkers, and 188 (37.5%) were lifetime abstainers at baseline. Among current drinkers, 67 (62.0%) drank at hazardous levels. 90 of current drinkers (83.3%) abstained from alcohol at least for 90 days over 3.6 median years of follow-up [IQR 2-4.8]; of those 69 (76.7%) remained abstinent for a median duration of follow-up of 3.25 years [1.6-4.5]. Becoming abstinent was independently associated with lower baseline AUDIT score (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.95 [95%CI 0.91-0.99]), baseline physical health score (AOR 0.92 [0.87-0.97]), and decreases in physical health score at follow-up visits (AOR 0.92 [0.88-0.97)). Alcohol abstinence was most likely to start immediately after ART initiation (AORs for 6 month versus 3 month visit: 0.25 [0.10-0.61]; 9 month visit or later versus 3 month visit: 0.04 [0.02-0.09]).

Conclusions: We found that a large majority of drinkers starting ART reported that they became and remained abstinent from alcohol. ART initiation may be an opportune time to implement interventions for alcohol consumption and other health behaviors.

Keywords: ART-initiation; Africa; Alcohol; Alcohol abstinence; Antiretroviral treatment; HIV; Hazardous drinking; Uganda.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Abstinence / psychology
  • Alcohol Abstinence / trends*
  • Alcohol Drinking / drug therapy
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / psychology
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / trends*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rural Population / trends*
  • Self Report*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uganda / epidemiology