Heavy episodic drinking and HIV disclosure by HIV treatment status among People with HIV in IeDEA Cameroon

Kathryn E. Lancaster, Molly Remch, Anastase Dzudie, Rogers Ajeh, Adebola Adedimeji, Denis Nash, Kathryn Anastos, Marcel Yotebieng, Eric Walter Yone-Pefura, Denis Nsame, Angela Parcesepe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Heavy alcohol use is common among people with HIV (PWH), leading to sub-optimal HIV care outcomes. Yet, heavy episodic drinking (HED) is not routinely addressed within most HIV clinics in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV disclosure may provide social support, potentially reducing HED to cope with HIV. We examined the prevalence of HED and HIV disclosure by antiretroviral treatment (ART) status among PWH receiving HIV care in Cameroon. Methods: We analyzed routine HIV clinical data augmented with systematic alcohol use data among adult PWH receiving HIV care in three regional hospitals from January 2016 to March 2020. Recent HED prevalence was examined across PWH by ART status: those not on ART, recent ART initiators (ART initiation ≤30 days prior), and ART users (ART initiation >30 days prior); and by gender. We used log-binomial regression to estimate prevalence differences (PD) between HIV disclosure and recent HED by ART status. Results: Among 12,517 PWH in care, 16.4% (95%CI: 15.7, 17.0) reported recent HED. HED was reported among 21.2% (95%CI: 16.0, 26.3) of those not on ART, 24.5% (95%CI: 23.1, 26.0) of recent ART initiators, and 12.9% (95%CI: 12.2, 13.6) of ART users. Regardless of ART status, men were more likely than women to report HED. Those who disclosed HIV status had a lower HED prevalence than those who had not disclosed (aPD: -0.07; 95%CI: -0.10, -0.05) and not modified by gender. Conclusion: The prevalence of recent HED was high among PWH in care. HED prevalence was highest among men and recent ART initiators. Longitudinal analyses should explore how HIV disclosure may support PWH in reducing or abstaining from HED through social support. Systematic HED screening and referral to care should be included in routine HIV clinical care, particularly for men, to improve engagement in the HIV care continuum in Cameroon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103431
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Alcohol
  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • HIV
  • Social support
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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