Background: Loneliness is a common outcome in the HIV+ community due to the stigma associated with it leading to social isolation. Studies show HIV+ individuals who experience significant loneliness do engage in risky sexual behaviors. Alcohol use also has adverse consequences in this population, interfering with antiretroviral medication adherence thus an increased likelihood of further risky sexual behaviors.
Hypothesis: HIV+ individuals who experience an increase in loneliness will have an increase in hazardous drinking behaviors.
Methods: 100 patients from an HIV treatment clinic in Jacksonville, Florida were administered the AUDIT scale to measure drinking habits and UCLA loneliness scale. Descriptive statistics and correlations have been reported.
Results: The sample included 67% female, 83% African American with a mean age of 45.2 years. 63% were single and 69% were living with a spouse, partner, children, friends or other family members. Mean AUDIT score was 2.8 (SD: 4.47) with a cut-off value of 8, mean UCLA score was 45 .86 (SD: 4.01). Spearman's correlations revealed no significant relationship between age and loneliness (r=0.175) (95% Cl= -0.13, 0.385); or living alone and loneliness (r = 0.03) (95% Cl = -0.202, 0.208). Further, no significant correlations were found between drinking and loneliness (r= -0.083) (95% Cl= -0.208, 0.200).
Conclusions: Participants who lived alone scored higher on the UCLA Loneliness Scale, however the relationship was not statistically significant. There was no significant correlation between loneliness and hazardous drinking. This is contrary to prior expectations that participants who have increased loneliness have an increase in hazardous drinking.
Kiernan, Erica and Chhabria, Krishna, "Loneliness and Drinking in an HIV Positive Population" (2015). Public Health. 1.