The Impact of Methadone Maintenance Treatment on HIV Risk Behaviors among High-Risk Injection Drug Users: A Systematic Review

June 2016 - Behavioral Prevention

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Karki, P., Shrestha, R., Huedo-Medina, T.B., and Copenhaver, M. Evidence-based Medicine & Public Health (March 2016), pii: e1229.

This literature review found a significant association between methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) and reduction of sex- and drug-related HIV risk behaviors among high-risk people who inject drugs (PWID). The 12 eligible studies, identified from among articles and dissertations published between 2005 and 2015 consistently revealed a decrease in the reported use of injection, frequency of injection, sharing of injecting equipment, and drug-related HIV risk scores. MMT was also associated with a lower likelihood of multiple sex partners or unprotected sex. The studies also showed significantly lower prevalence of unprotected sex and drug use risk behavior among PWID who received both MMT and HIV testing services (HTS), compared to HTS alone. The authors concluded that their findings pointed to a close and direct association between MMT and reduced HIV risk behaviors, and recommended that policymakers and implementers ensure high rates of access and adherence to MMT.

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