Last updated on February 2018

Behavioral Interventions to Reduce Heavy Drinking Among MSM in HIV Primary Care


Brief description of study

The purpose of the present study is to conduct a fully-crossed 2 X 2 X 2 factorial randomized controlled trial with a diverse sample of 224 MSM recruited from 2 urban HIV primary care clinics (one in the Northeast and one in the South). The first study factor will compare brief advice (BA) vs. a motivational intervention (MI) that contains detailed personalized normative and HIV-specific feedback. The second factor compares an interactive text messaging (ITM) intervention vs. no text messaging. The final factor compares intervention of low intensity and duration (two sessions over 1 month) to extended intervention (EI) entailing 5 sessions over 9 months.

Detailed Study Description

Heavy drinking in HIV-infected patients can lead to low antiretroviral therapy adherence and poor virologic control, greater sexual risk taking, increased risk of liver disease, and decreased cognitive function. Therefore, reductions in drinking may have particularly positive and widespread effects in HIV-infected patients. Men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to represent the majority of new HIV infections, and HIV-infected MSM have rates of hazardous drinking as high as 33%. Therefore, developing and testing interventions to reduce heavy drinking in HIV-infected MSM is a very high public health priority. There have been relatively few alcohol interventions tested that focus on MSM, and only two have addressed drinking in HIV-infected MSM. Although recent studies indicate that behavioral interventions can reduce heavy drinking in HIV-infected patients, much remains unknown about the efficacy of different approaches to behavioral intervention and their unique and combined effects. The purpose of the present study is to conduct a fully-crossed 2 X 2 X 2 factorial randomized controlled trial with a diverse sample of 224 MSM recruited from 2 urban HIV primary care clinics (one in the Northeast and one in the South). The first study factor will compare brief advice (BA) vs. a motivational intervention (MI) that contains detailed personalized normative and HIV-specific feedback. The second factor compares an interactive text messaging (ITM) intervention vs. no text messaging. The final factor compares intervention of low intensity and duration (two sessions over 1 month) to extended intervention (EI) entailing 5 sessions over 9 months. BA and MI will be delivered by a core set of interventionists from a central location using a webcam-enabled telemedicine system, which can facilitate larger-scale implementation. The design will allow us to test the hypothesis that MI compared to BA, ITM compared to no ITM, and EI compared to no EI, will result in significantly greater reductions in number of alcoholic drinks consumed and number of heavy drinking days at 6- and 12-month follow-ups. Secondary outcomes include engagement in unprotected anal intercourse, ART adherence and viral suppression, CD4 cell count, liver function tests, and neurocognitive function. We also will test the hypothesis that the effects of MI, ITM, and EI on drinking will be moderated by alcohol use disorder status and readiness to change drinking such that these interventions will be relatively more efficacious in those with a current disorder and those with low readiness. The study will provide crucial evidence regarding which intervention approaches, alone or in combination, are likely to be most efficient to implement on a large scale in HIV care settings.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02709759

Contact Investigators or Research Sites near you

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Carri-Ann Gay

Fenway Health
Boston, MA United States
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Christopher Kahler, PhD

Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University
Providence, RI United States
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Recruitment Status: Open


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