Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

The efficacy of a brief intervention to reduce alcohol misuse in patients with HIV in South Africa: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Diana Huis in ’t Veld123*, Linda Skaal45, Karl Peltzer67, Robert Colebunders13, John V Ndimande8 and Supa Pengpid5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp (Wilrijk), 2610, Belgium

2 FWO Research Foundation Flanders, Egmontstraat 5, Brussels, 1000, Belgium

3 Department of Clinical Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, Antwerp, 2000, Belgium

4 Department of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, PO Box 215, Medunsa, 0204, Pretoria, South Africa

5 Department of Health System Management and Policy, University of Limpopo, PO Box 215, Medunsa, 0204, Pretoria, South Africa

6 HIV/AIDS, STIs & TB (HAST) Research Programme, Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa

7 Department of Psychology, University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus, Sovenga, 0727, South Africa

8 Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, University of Limpopo, P.O. Box 222, Medunsa, 0204, Pretoria, South Africa

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Trials 2012, 13:190  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-190

Published: 9 October 2012



Alcohol abuse comes with risks for increased morbidity and mortality among patients with HIV. This study aims to determine the prevalence of alcohol use and other risk factors in a sample of primary care patients with HIV in South Africa and to assess a brief intervention to reduce the use of alcohol in this group.


A single-blinded randomized controlled trial is designed to determine the efficacy of a brief intervention to reduce hazardous alcohol use in patients with HIV. The study will be carried out on out-patients with HIV in two primary healthcare HIV clinics near Pretoria, South Africa. Alcohol use will be assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test questionnaire. Other data that will be collected relate to health-related quality of life, depression, sexual behavior, internalized AIDS stigma, HIV-related information and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (self-reported 7-day recall of missed doses, Visual Analog Scale and pill count). The intervention consists of a brief counseling session to reduce alcohol risk; the control group receives a health education leaflet.


The findings will be important in the public health setting. If the intervention proves to be efficient, it could potentially be incorporated into the HIV care policy of the Ministry of Health.

Trial registration

Pan African Clinical trial Registry: PACTR201202000355384

Alcohol; HIV; South Africa; Intervention