Understanding Patients’ Experiences with a Brief Alcohol Reduction Intervention among People Living with HIV in Uganda: A Qualitative Study

Margaret W. Gichane, Carol S. Camlin, Monica Getahun, Nneka Emenyonu, Sarah Woolf-King, Naomi Sanyu, Anita Katusiime, Robin Fatch, Winnie Muyindike, Judith A. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Brief alcohol reduction interventions for people living with HIV (PLWH) have resulted in mixed findings with some studies showing null or limited treatment effects. To better understand factors that may contribute to their success or failure, this qualitative study sought to explore participants’ experiences in a randomized trial (RCT) of a brief counseling-based alcohol reduction intervention, including challenges that may have impeded alcohol reduction. Methods: We conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with 24 PLWH engaging in unhealthy alcohol use, who were enrolled in an RCT to reduce alcohol consumption conducted in southwestern Uganda in 2019–2020 (NCT03928418). We used a collaborative thematic approach to analyze data from transcribed and translated audio recordings. Results: Perceived benefits of the intervention included increased awareness of alcohol use and its impact on personal finances, the relationship between alcohol use and violence, and a commitment to drinking reduction. Participants experienced several barriers to decreasing their alcohol use, including: prevailing social norms about alcohol use, lack of social support, and economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusion: Factors in the immediate contexts of PLWH in low-income settings, including social norms influencing alcohol consumption and lack of social support, may impede the impact of alcohol reduction interventions, especially during times of stress such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1714-1721
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2023


  • Brief intervention
  • alcohol
  • people living with HIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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