Decreased Alcohol Consumption in an Implementation Study of Computerized Brief Intervention among HIV Patients in Clinical Care

Mary E. McCaul, Heidi E. Hutton, Karen L. Cropsey, Heidi M. Crane, Catherine R. Lesko, Geetanjali Chander, Michael J. Mugavero, Mari M. Kitahata, Bryan Lau, Michael S. Saag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This prospective, nonrandomized implementation study evaluated a computerized brief intervention (CBI) for persons with HIV (PWH) and heavy/hazardous alcohol use. CBI was integrated into two HIV primary care clinics. Eligible patients were engaged in care, ≥ 18 years old, English speaking, endorsed heavy/hazardous alcohol use on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-C (AUDIT-C). Two 20-min computerized sessions using cognitive behavioral techniques were delivered by a 3-D avatar on touch screen tablets. Of 816 eligible AUDIT-C scores, 537 (66%) resulted in CBI invitation, 226 (42%) of invited patients enrolled, and 176 (78%) of enrolled patients watched at least one session. CBI enrollment was associated with a significant average reduction of 9.1 drinks/week (95% CI − 14.5, − 3.6) 4–12 months post-enrollment. Among those who participated in one or both sessions, average reduction in drinks/week was 11.7 drinks/week (95% CI − 18.8, − 4.6). There was corresponding improvement in AUDIT-C scores. Overall patients reported high levels of intervention satisfaction, particularly among older and Black patients. These promising results point to a practical intervention for alcohol reduction in this vulnerable patient population with elevated rates of heavy/hazardous drinking. Future research should examine strategies to increase initial engagement, strengthen intervention effects to increase the number of patients who achieve non-hazardous drinking, and examine the duration of therapeutic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4074-4084
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Binge drinking
  • Brief alcohol intervention
  • HIV
  • HIV viral load
  • Heavy alcohol use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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