Promising outcomes from a cognitive behavioral therapy text-messaging intervention targeting drug use, antiretroviral therapy adherence, and HIV risk behaviors among adults living with HIV and substance use disorders


To date, no studies have reported the use of text messaging to deliver cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to people living with HIV and substance use disorders.


We developed and evaluated a 12-week, CBT-based text-messaging intervention (TXT-CBT) targeting drug use and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for adults with HIV and comorbid opioid and stimulant use disorders.

Materials and methods

Participants were randomly assigned to receive either TXT-CBT (n = 25) or an informational pamphlet (INFO) discussing substance use and medication adherence (n = 25). ART adherence, drug use, and HIV-risk behaviors were assessed at baseline, monthly during treatment, and treatment-end, and were compared between groups using a mixed-model repeated-measures analysis. Injection drug use was examined as a moderator of outcomes.


Relative to the INFO group, TXT-CBT participants evidenced increased ART adherence, measured by phone-based unannounced pill counts and biochemically by viral load and CD4 count. TXT-CBT participation was also associated with reductions in opioid use and HIV risk behaviors. While reductions in cocaine use were observed in the TXT-CBT group, relative to the INFO group, other stimulant use did not change. Among people who inject drugs, TXT-CBT produced increases in ART adherence and corresponding changes in viral load, relative to injection drug users in the control condition.


Findings demonstrated promising preliminary evidence for the efficacy of TXT-CBT in improving ART adherence and reducing drug use and HIV-risk behaviors among people with HIV infection and comorbid opioid and stimulant use disorders.

Auteur(s) : Glasner, S., & al.