Alcohol and drug use outcomes among vulnerable women living with HIV: results from the Western Cape Women's Health CoOp
Novak, Scott P.
Wechsberg, Wendee M.
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Alcohol and other drug use can negatively affect adherence to and retention in antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people living with HIV/AIDS. Yet, there are few brief interventions that reduce these behaviors among this population. This article presents the findings from a randomized field experiment that assessed the effects of a woman-focused intervention (the Women's Health CoOp [WHC]) on reducing alcohol and other drug use among vulnerable women in Cape Town, South Africa. The analyses were limited to 84 women living with HIV who reported drinking alcohol at baseline. Because of the small sample size, analyses were performed using an exact logistic regression procedure. At 12-month follow-up, women in the WHC arm were more likely to be abstinent from alcohol (odds ratio [OR] = 3.61; 95% confidence intervals [CI] = 1.23, 11.70; p = 0.016) and somewhat more likely to test negative for other drugs (OR = 3.07; 95% CI = 0.83, 12.31; p = 0.105), compared with women in the comparison arms. This study provides preliminary evidence of the efficacy of a brief, woman-focused intervention in reducing alcohol and other drug use among vulnerable women living with HIV and it has implications for HIV treatment.