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

Glenn Milo Santos, Nneka I. Emenyonu, Francis Bajunirwe, A. Rain Mocello, Jeffrey N. Martin, Eric Vittinghoff, David R. Bangsberg, Judith A. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-157
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • ART-initiation
  • Africa
  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol abstinence
  • Antiretroviral treatment
  • HIV
  • Hazardous drinking
  • Uganda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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