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Papers of the Week

2019 May

J Subst Abuse Treat


Establishing the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a multi-component behavioral intervention to reduce pain and substance use and improve physical performance in older persons living with HIV.


Moore AA, Lake JE, Glasner S, Karlamangla A, Kuerbis A, Preciado D, Jenkins J, Dominguez BX, Candelario J, Liao DH, Tang L, Reid CM
J Subst Abuse Treat. 2019 May; 100:29-38.
PMID: 30898325.


Older persons living with HIV (PLWH), often defined as age 50 years and older, are a rapidly growing population, with high rates of chronic pain, substance use, and decreased physical functioning. No interventions currently exist that address all three of these health outcomes simultaneously. An 8-week behavioral intervention combining cognitive-behavioral therapy and tai chi reinforced with text messaging (CBT/TC/TXT) was developed and pilot tested in a community-based AIDS service organization with substance using PLWH aged 50 years and older who experienced chronic pain. Fifty-five participants were enrolled in a three arm randomized controlled trial that compared the CBT/TC/TXT intervention (N = 18) to routine Support Group (SG) (N = 19) and Assessment Only (AO) (N = 18) to assess the intervention's feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy to reduce pain and substance use and improve physical performance. Participants were assessed at baseline, treatment-end (week 8) and week 12. Feasibility and acceptability indicators showed moderate levels of participant enrollment (62% of those eligible), excellent 12-week assessment completion (84%) and high attendance at CBT and tai chi sessions (>60% attended at least 6 of 8 sessions). Efficacy indicators showed within-group improvements from baseline to week 12 in the CBT/TC/TXT group, including all four substance use outcomes, percent pain relief in the past 24 h, and in two physical performance measures. Observed between-group changes included greater reductions in days of heavy drinking in the past 30 days for both CBT/TC/TXT (19%) and SG (13%) compared to the AO group. Percent pain relief in the past 24 h improved in the CBT/TC/TXT group relative to SG, and the CBT/TC/TXT's physical performance score improved relative to both the SG and AO groups. Findings demonstrate that the CBT/TC/TXT intervention is feasible to implement, acceptable and has preliminary efficacy for reducing substance use and pain and improving physical performance among a vulnerable population of older PLWH.