Unhealthy substance-use behaviors as symptom-related self-care in persons with HIV/AIDS

John M. Brion, Carol Dawson Rose, Patrice K. Nicholas, Rick Sloane, Joachim G. Voss, Inge B. Corless, Teri G. Lindgren, Dean J. Wantland, Jeanne K. Kemppainen, Elizabeth F. Sefcik, Kathleen M. Nokes, Kenn M. Kirksey, Lucille Sanzero Eller, Mary Jane Hamilton, William L. Holzemer, Carmen J. Portillo, Marta Rivero Mendez, Linda M. Robinson, Shahnaz Moezzi, Maria RosaSarie Human, Mary Maryland, John Arudo, Ana Viamonte Ros, Thomas P. Nicholas, Yvette Cuca, Emily Huang, Catherine Bain, Lynda Tyer-Viola, Sheryl M. Zang, Maureen Shannon, Angelleen Peters-Lewis, Suzanne Willard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Unhealthy substance-use behaviors, including a heavy alcohol intake, illicit drug use, and cigarette smoking, are engaged in by many HIV-positive individuals, often as a way to manage their disease-related symptoms. This study, based on data from a larger randomized controlled trial of an HIV/AIDS symptom management manual, examines the prevalence and characteristics of unhealthy behaviors in relation to HIV/AIDS symptoms. The mean age of the sample (n=775) was 42.8years and 38.5% of the sample was female. The mean number of years living with HIV was 9.1years. The specific self-reported unhealthy substance-use behaviors were the use of marijuana, cigarettes, a large amount of alcohol, and illicit drugs. A subset of individuals who identified high levels of specific symptoms also reported significantly higher substance-use behaviors, including amphetamine and injection drug use, heavy alcohol use, cigarette smoking, and marijuana use. The implications for clinical practice include the assessment of self-care behaviors, screening for substance abuse, and education of persons regarding the self-management of HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)


  • Self-care
  • Substance use
  • Symptom burden


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