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HIV care provider perceptions and approaches to managing unhealthy alcohol use in primary HIV care settings: a qualitative study


Chichetto NE , Mannes ZL , Allen MK , Cook RL , Ennis N , . Addiction science & clinical practice. 2019 6 7; 14(1). 21


BACKGROUND: HIV care providers often serve as the specialist and the primary care point-of-contact for persons living with HIV (PLWH) and unhealthy alcohol use. The purpose of the present qualitative study was to understand HIV care provider perceptions and approaches to managing unhealthy alcohol use in HIV primary care settings.

METHODS: Using a semi-structured interview guide, in-depth interviews were conducted among 14 HIV care providers (5 medical doctors, 5 nurse practitioners/physician assistants, 2 medical assistants, 2 clinical administrative staff) in private and public HIV clinics, across urban and rural areas of Florida. Interviews were coded using a grounded theory approach with inter-rater consensus.

RESULTS: Six themes were identified. In summary, providers reported (1) inconsistent assessment of alcohol consumption, as well as (2) varying levels of confidence in self-report of alcohol use which may be affected by patient provider rapport and trust. While providers (3) acknowledge potential negative impacts of alcohol use on health outcomes and HIV treatment, providers reported (4) inconsistent recommendations regarding alcohol use among their patients. Lastly, providers reported (5) limited resources for patients with unhealthy alcohol use and (6) low confidence in their ability to help patients reduce use.

CONCLUSIONS: Results from our study suggest salient differences in provider approaches to the assessment and management of unhealthy alcohol use in HIV primary care settings. Implementation of care for unhealthy alcohol use in these settings may be facilitated through use of clinically useful, validated alcohol use assessments and use of evidence-based recommendations of alcohol use/non-use among PLWH. Training in brief intervention techniques for alcohol reduction may increase provider confidence and support in the management of unhealthy alcohol use among PLWH.