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VACS intervention studies include: HARP (ongoing), FIRST, STEP, and Project DAWN. Please find related resources (manuals, patient materials, visit forms, and publications) below.


The ongoing HIV and Alcohol Research center focused on Polypharmacy (HARP) Pilots 1 and 2 from Project 1 are pharmacist-led intervention studies that combine self-reported alcohol use and biomarkers (phosphatidylethanol concentration) to communicate risk to individuals with HIV who are on 5 or more medications (polypharmacy). Additional risks such as falls and neurocognitively active meds will be factored into Pilot 2 using the learned framework of Pilot 1.

HARP Project 1 Pilot Training Manual

HARP Project 2 includes a series of three open-label pilot studies that consist of a 12-week intervention including off-label use of medication with medical management and a clinical pharmacist-delivered behavioral intervention to treat alcohol use disorder among individuals with HIV. Participants will receive counseling that incorporates brief feedback and advice with motivational enhancement techniques to assist the participant in changing their behaviors with respect to alcohol consumption and/or polypharmacy. In addition, participants will be offered varenicline in the first pilot study.


The Financial Incentives, Randomization with Stepped Treatment (FIRST) Trial is a 7-site randomized clinical trial designed to determine the efficacy of Contingency Management (CM) plus Stepped Care for unhealthy alcohol use among patients with HIV.

FIRST Trial Publications



The Starting Treatment for Ethanol in Primary HIV Care (STEP) Trials were three linked randomized clinical trials designed to evaluate the impact of integrated stepped alcohol treatment to address unhealthy alcohol use among individuals with HIV.

STEP Trial Publications






Project Dawn

This randomized clinical trial designed to evaluate the efficacy of counseling + injectable naltrexone vs. counseling + placebo among individuals with HIV with heavy drinking and antiretroviral non-adherence. Among n=51 enrolled participants, we did not detect an effect of the intervention on ART adherence or other HIV-related outcomes; however, it was associated with fewer heavy drinking days and reached a population of individuals who had limited prior alcohol treatment.

Project Dawn Publication