People living with HIV are almost twice as likely to have alcohol abuse problems which can lead to many serious health complications, according to Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Director of Research Risa Flynn.
That’s why the Center is asking current Health Services clients who are living with HIV and drink alcohol to participate in Project ReACH, a research study being conducted by investigators from Brown University and funded by the National Institutes on Health. The study looks at different approaches to help people with HIV manage their alcohol use in a healthy way.
The Center is among the handful of organizations working with the university to enroll about 400 participants nationwide.
“As the largest LGBTQ organization in the world, we really have an obligation to do this research, to promote it, and to encourage the community to participate,” Flynn points out. “That’s where progress in science comes from—the data we obtain will improve someone’s quality of life.”
The research will help to develop an efficient, low-coast telehealth intervention model to counsel alcohol drinkers living with HIV.
“Over the last several years, the researchers have been refining the intervention designed to be delivered either over the phone or over email,” Flynn explains. “They are now testing the intervention in a number of Federally Qualified Health Centers, like ours, who serve LGBTQ populations and people living with HIV.”
Participants, who will be compensated $230 for their time, do not have to be interested in changing their drinking habits in order to take part in the study. After completing an eligibility survey online, they will be asked to complete interviews every six months during the two-year period.
Half of them will receive brief counseling; the other half will be offered more extensive counseling and use of a text messaging program focused on alcohol management.
“It has been demonstrated to be effective so Project ReACH is the first opportunity to find out what the uptake would be in a real world clinic setting,” Flynn says.
Are you a current Health Services client who is interested in participating in Project ReACH? Determine your eligibility by completing an online survey at sites.brown.edu/reach