This study is a randomized clinical trial in which 224 heavy drinking men who have sex with men (MSM), who receive their HIV primary care at Fenway Health in Boston, are randomly assigned to treatment as usual (TAU) or TAU plus a brief intervention to reduce alcohol use (TAU-BI). TAU-BI will be based in Motivational Interviewing and include personalized feedback tailored to an HIV-infected MSM population. Follow-ups will occur at 3, 6, and 12 months. The first primary aim of the study is to test the hypothesis that TAU-BI, compared to TAU, will result in reduced alcohol consumption over a 12-month follow-up period as indicated by: (1) a lower number of alcoholic drinks consumed per week; (2) a lower number of drinking days within each follow-up period; and (3) a lower number of heavy drinking days within each follow-up period. The second primary aim is to test the hypothesis that greater reductions in alcohol use will be associated with (1) greater adherence to HIV medication regimens; (2) less engagement in high-risk sexual behavior that could result in HIV transmission; (3) lower plasma HIV RNA levels (viral load) (CD4 cell counts will be a secondary outcome in this sub-aim); (4) improved liver function tests; and (5) improved neurocognitive function.
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