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Assessing the Adoption, Acceptability and Fidelity of the Alcohol Use Disorders Test for Alcohol Use Disorders screening in HIV Clinics in Malawi.

Alcohol 2023 September 9
BACKGROUND: Alcohol use disorders (AUD) are a common cause of poor treatment outcomes among people with HIV (PWH). In Malawi, routine screening for AUD among PWH is unavailable. We piloted the utility of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) in screening for AUD among PWH and assessed its adoption, acceptability and fidelity in HIV clinics in Malawi.

METHODS: We implemented the AUDIT tool at Mchinji, Kapiri and Kochirira hospitals in Mchinji District between April and May 2021. AUD were defined and classified based on WHO classification as low-risk, harmful/hazardous alcohol use or alcohol dependence. We calculated the prevalence of AUD, the proportion of providers who conducted AUD screening (adoption) and the proportion of providers who conducted AUD screening as intended (fidelity) and compared between clinics. Lastly, we assessed acceptability through a survey among providers.

RESULTS: Out of 2036 PWH, 875 (43%) were screened for AUD and 51% were female, mean age was 41 years (SD±12) and 338 (39%) had AUD. Adoption was highest at Mchinji (58%) compared to Kapiri (31%) and Kochiria (29%) (P<0.001). Overall Fidelity was 96%, and it was highest at Kapiri (99%) compared to Mchinji (95%) and Kochirira (98%) (P=0.01). AUD screening with AUDIT was highly acceptable as most providers agreed or completely agreed that the AUDIT was important (100%), easy to use (96%), satisfactory (96%), agreed to continue use (61%) and recommended it for other facilities in the district (100%).

CONCLUSION: AUD were common among PWH. While the adoption of AUDIT for AUD screening was moderate, acceptability and fidelity were high. The impact of AUD on HIV treatment outcomes needs to be assessed to determine the role of routine AUD screening in HIV clinics in Malawi.

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