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Volume 10 Supplement 2

INEBRIA 12th Congress,

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Drinking motives and alcohol intervention for patients with HIV


For individuals with HIV, heavy drinking can interfere with medication adherence and impair liver function. Yet, many individuals with HIV drink heavily. A recent alcohol intervention trial[1] indicated that motivational interviewing (MI) enhanced with HealthCall (consisting of self-monitoring and discussion of drinking data collected through self-monitoring) was effective at reducing drinking in HIV patients. Also using this data, Elliott et al.[2, 3] showed that patients' drinking motives at baseline were associated with both past-year and end-of-treatment drinking. However, it remains unknown: (a) whether motivational interventions also decreased drinking motives, and (b) whether the predictive validity of motives extended to end-of-study (i.e., 12-months post-baseline).

Materials and methods

The sample consisted of 254 HIV-infected patients with past-month heavy drinking (78% male; 94.5% minority), participating in a randomized trial of brief alcohol interventions[1]. Participants completed one of three conditions: (a) a DVD educational control; (b) MI only; (c) MI+HealthCall. Patients reported motives, drinking, and alcohol dependence symptoms at baseline, end-of-treatment, and end-of-study.


The intervention conditions evidenced few differences in motives at end-of-treatment (MI+HealthCall evidenced higher drinking due to social pressure, p<0.05), and no differences at end-of-study. However, baseline motives remained predictive of drinking at end-of-study (drinking to cope with negative affect associated with more past-month drinks and dependence symptoms, ps<0.05; drinking due to social pressure with fewer drinks, p<0.01).


Although MI+HealthCall reduces drinking, it does not reduce drinking motives. Individuals participating in MI+HealthCall were more likely to transition to drinking due to social pressure, an indicator of lower-risk drinking[2]. However, motives (particularly drinking to cope) were predictive of alcohol consumption and dependence up to a year later, suggesting their importance in understanding and predicting drinking. Further work should increase attention to drinking motives in alcohol interventions for HIV patients.


  1. Hasin DS, Aharonovich E, O'Leary A, Greenstein E, Pavlicova M, Arunajadai S, Waxman R, Wainberg M, Helzer J, Johnston B: Reducing heavy drinking in HIV primary care: a randomized trial of brief intervention, with and without technological enhancement. Addiction. 2013, 108 (7): 1230-40. 10.1111/add.12127.

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  2. Elliott JC, Aharonovich E, O'Leary A, Wainberg M, Hasin DS: Drinking motives among HIV primary care patients. AIDS Behav. 2014, 18 (7): 1315-23. 10.1007/s10461-013-0644-4.

    Article  PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Elliott JC, Aharonovich E, O'Leary A, Wainberg M, Hasin DS: Drinking motives as prospective predictors of outcome in an intervention trial with heavily drinking HIV patients. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2014, 134: 290-5.

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Financial support for this research was provided by the National Institutes of Health grants R01AA014323, K05AA014223, K23AA023753, and R01DA024606, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. No conflicts of interest are declared.

Trial registration NCT00371969.

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Correspondence to Jennifer C Elliott.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Elliott, J.C., Aharonovich, E., O'Leary, A. et al. Drinking motives and alcohol intervention for patients with HIV. Addict Sci Clin Pract 10 (Suppl 2), P6 (2015).

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