The feasibility of using smartphones and mobile breathalyzers to monitor alcohol consumption among people living with HIV/AIDS

Carolyn Lauckner, Erica Taylor, Darshti Patel, Alexis Whitmire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: For people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), alcohol consumption is associated with poor treatment outcomes and medication adherence. This pilot study examined the feasibility of using smartphones and mobile Bluetooth breathalyzers for monitoring alcohol consumption among PLWHA (N = 17). Methods: For 2 weeks, participants responded to twice-daily text message prompts by completing a breathalyzer reading and a mobile survey about their alcohol use. They also completed baseline questionnaires assessing alcohol consumption and hazardous drinking behaviors. Results: Participants completed an average of 22 of 28 breathalyzer readings and 17 of 28 mobile surveys, and were more likely to complete daytime (vs. evening) monitoring tasks. Results suggested that self-reported frequency of binge drinking at baseline was related to an increased number of days with alcohol consumption according to breathalyzer and mobile surveys, as well as a higher average blood alcohol content. Qualitative interviews found generally positive attitudes toward the technologies, but some participants reported experiencing technical difficulties. Conclusions: Overall, this preliminary research suggests that smartphone monitoring of alcohol consumption among PLWHA may reflect cross-sectional self-reported alcohol consumption behaviors, but could use improvements to increase adherence to monitoring tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalAddiction Science and Clinical Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 26 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).


  • Alcohol use
  • Electronic momentary assessment
  • mHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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