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Assessing feasibility and acceptability of a brief intervention for risky alcohol consumption in sexual health clinic attendees: a randomised controlled trial
  1. Paul Roderick1,
  2. Sangeetha S Sundaram2,
  3. Borislav D Dimitrov1,
  4. Susan Dewhirst1,
  5. Linda J Tucker2,
  6. Geraldine Leydon1,
  7. Nick Sheron3,
  8. Alison Frater4,
  9. Veerakathy Harindra2
  1. 1Academic Unit of Primary Care & Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  2. 2Sexual Health, Solent NHS Trust, Portsmouth, UK
  3. 3Academic Unit of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  4. 4South Central Strategic Health Authority, Reading, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Paul Roderick, Academic Unit of Primary Care & Population Sciences, C Floor, South Academic Block, University Hospital Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK; pjr{at}


Objectives To assess the feasibility and acceptability of screening attendees at a sexual health clinic (SHC) for alcohol misuse, and delivering a brief intervention (BI). To explore the effect of this BI on drinking and sexual behaviour.

Methods A consecutive sample of consenting SHC attendees aged ≥16 years were screened using Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Consumption (AUDIT-C). Men scoring ≥5 and women scoring ≥4 were invited to complete the full AUDIT, alcohol diary and baseline questionnaire.

Interventions Participants were randomised to receive BI by a trained sexual health professional or a standard alcohol leaflet (usual care, UC). All were followed up for changes in alcohol and sexual behaviour at 6 weeks and 6 months. A fidelity check and staff focus group were undertaken.

Results Of 664 participants screened, 215 (32%) were eligible for randomisation and 207 were included in the final analysis: 103 (BI) and 104 (UC). Follow-up rates were 54% and 47% at 6 weeks and 6 months, respectively. Both groups reduced alcohol consumption though the degree of change did not differ between them. There was some evidence of positive changes in sexual health risk in both groups. BI was delivered as intended, adding 5 minutes to the consultation, and staff feedback was positive.

Conclusions Alcohol misuse was common in SHC attendees. Systematic assessment and BI for alcohol misuse was feasible and acceptable to staff and patients. Identification and provision of standard information alone appeared to influence drinking and sexual behaviour.

Trial registration number ISRCTN19452424.

  • sexually transmitted infections
  • alcohol consumption
  • risk assessment

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