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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versión On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versión impresa ISSN 0256-9574


PARRY, C D et al. Characteristics and drinking behaviour of patients on antiretroviral therapy who drink and attend HIV clinics in Tshwane, South Africa: Implications for intervention. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2019, vol.109, n.10, pp.784-791. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND. Patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) who drink alcohol are at risk of poor medication adherence and negative health outcomes. OBJECTIVES. To explore the drinking behaviour of patients on ART and assess the associations between drinking, adherence to ART and viral load, and in particular factors associated with binge drinking (>6 drinks per occasion) at least monthly. METHODS. We recruited 623 HIV patients from six hospitals in the Tshwane metropole who scored positive on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) but were 'non-dependent' drinkers into a randomised controlled trial. This article reports on baseline data. RESULTS. Of the patients, 51% reported drinking in the past week, 60% of men and 33% of women consumed >6 standard drinks on a typical drinking day, and 19% of men and 5% of women were identified as drinking at harmful levels. Over a quarter reported having a friend or relative, or a doctor or other healthcare worker, express concern about their drinking or suggest that they cut down. AUDIT total scores were significantly negatively correlated with self-reported adherence to ART and positively correlated with viral load. Number of years on ART was not significantly associated with binge drinking. Persons who were employed part time (odds ratio (OR) 1.474) or were self-employed (OR 2.135) were more likely to binge-drink than unemployed persons. Beer drinkers (OR 1.716) were more at risk for binge drinking than non-beer drinkers, and persons who drank monthly or less (OR 0.053) or 2 - 4 times a month (OR 0.168) were less at risk for bingeing than those who drank >4 times per week. CONCLUSIONS. The high volume of alcohol consumed per occasion by patients on ART, especially beer and spirits drinkers, is a concern. Interventions that address structural drivers of heavy drinking and target HIV patients at risk of heavy drinking are needed.

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