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Perceptions of alcohol use in the context of HIV treatment: a qualitative study

Authors Madhombiro M, Marimbe-Dube B, Dube M, Kaiyo-Utete M, Paradzai A, Chibanda D, Rusakaniko S, van der Watt ASJ, Seedat S

Received 26 August 2017

Accepted for publication 11 January 2018

Published 9 April 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 47—55

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/HIV.S150095

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Bassel Sawaya


Munyaradzi Madhombiro,1 Bazondlile Marimbe-Dube,1 Michelle Dube,1 Malinda Kaiyo-Utete,1 Angeline Paradzai,2 Dixon Chibanda,1 Simbarashe Rusakaniko,3 ASJ van der Watt,4 Soraya Seedat4

1Department of Psychiatry, College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; 2Department of Linguistics, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; 3Department of Community Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe; 4Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Background: Alcohol use is associated with poor HIV treatment outcomes. This study aimed to understand patients’ perceptions of the impact of alcohol use in the context of HIV care.
Methods: The study design was a descriptive qualitative study of HIV positive individuals receiving antiretroviral treatment. The study involved four focus group discussions with male and female participants at a tertiary center, city clinic, and rural church. We employed convenience sampling and invited patients coming for their routine visits and medication refills to participate.
Results: Participants had an awareness of both the direct and indirect effects of alcohol use. The direct effects related to the incompatibility of HIV medication and alcohol. The indirect effects related to the negative impact of alcohol on treatment adherence. Participants proffered reasons why HIV infected individuals on HIV treatment drink and felt that patients had to make a deliberate choice to stop drinking. Participants displayed some knowledge of interventions for drinking cessation and highlighted the use of pharmacological interventions to stop drinking. Participants indicated that they preferred HIV counselors to provide counseling services in view of the existing relationships that patients had with counselors.
Conclusion: People living with HIV have adequate knowledge of the effects of alcohol use in the context of HIV treatment. Stigma and the time taken to engage in an alcohol use intervention appeared to be the main impediments to uptake. The current model of HIV treatment, based on trust with the HIV care team, and maintenance of this trust, could bolster the uptake of an intervention. Involvement of HIV patients in their treatment is necessary to improve treatment outcomes in the context of alcohol use.

Keywords: alcohol use, HIV, impact, perceptions, Zimbabwe

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