Substance abuse treatment and hospitalization among a cohort of HIV-infected individuals with alcohol problems

Anita Palepu, Nicholas J Horton, Nicole Tibbetts, Seville Meli, Jeffrey H Samet
Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research 2005, 29 (3): 389-94

BACKGROUND: We examined the association of substance abuse treatment services on hospitalization among participants in the HIV-Alcohol Longitudinal Cohort (HIV-ALC) study of HIV-infected individuals with a history of alcohol problems.

METHODS: A standardized questionnaire that inquired about demographics, substance use, use of substance abuse treatment services, and hospitalization was administered to 349 HIV-ALC participants. We defined substance abuse treatment services as any of the following in the past 6 months: 12 weeks in a half-way house or residential facility, 12 visits to a substance abuse counselor or mental health professional, or participation in any methadone maintenance program.

RESULTS: Almost one third of this cohort were hospitalized in the past 6 months. Substance abuse treatment was not significantly associated with hospitalization [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 1.0; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.7-1.5), whereas homelessness (AOR 2.3; 95% CI 1.5-3.6), injection drug use (AOR 1.7; 95% CI 1.0-2.7), severity of alcohol dependence (AOR 1.02; 95% CI 1.00-1.05), CD4 cell count (AOR 0.999; 95% CI 0.998-1.00), and HIV RNA (AOR 1.1; 95% CI 1.0-1.2) were independently associated with increased odds of hospitalization over time.

CONCLUSIONS: Engagement in substance abuse treatment was not associated with a decrease in hospital use by HIV-infected individuals with a history of alcohol problems. The period of substance abuse treatment may present an opportunity to address health care utilization patterns of HIV-infected individuals.

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