Methadone maintenance therapy promotes initiation of antiretroviral therapy among injection drug users
Article first published online: 10 MAR 2010
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 105, Issue 5, pages 907–913, May 2010
How to Cite
Uhlmann, S., Milloy, M.-J., Kerr, T., Zhang, R., Guillemi, S., Marsh, D., Hogg, R. S., Montaner, J. S. G. and Wood, E. (2010), Methadone maintenance therapy promotes initiation of antiretroviral therapy among injection drug users. Addiction, 105: 907–913. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.02905.x
- Issue published online: 8 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 10 MAR 2010
- Submitted 10 September 2009; initial review completed 29 October 2009; final version accepted 24 November 2009
Aims Despite proven benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART), many human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected injection drug users (IDU) do not access treatment even in settings with free health care. We examined whether methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) increased initiation and adherence to ART among an IDU population with free health care.
Design We examined prospectively a cohort of opioid-using antiretroviral-naive HIV-infected IDU and investigated factors associated with initiation of antiretroviral therapy as well as subsequent adherence. Factors associated independently with time to first initiation of antiretroviral therapy were modelled using Cox proportional hazards regression.
Findings Between May 1996 and April 2008, 231 antiretroviral-naive HIV-infected opioid-using IDU were enrolled, among whom 152 (65.8%) initiated ART, for an incidence density of 30.5 [95% confidence interval (CI): 25.9–35.6] per 100 person-years. After adjustment for time-updated clinical characteristics and other potential confounders, use of MMT was associated independently with more rapid uptake of antiretroviral therapy [relative hazard = 1.62 (95% CI: 1.15–2.28); P = 0.006]. Those prescribed methadone also had higher rates of ART adherence after first antiretroviral initiation [odds ratio = 1.49 (95% CI: 1.07–2.08); P = 0.019].
Conclusion These results demonstrate that MMT contributes to more rapid initiation and subsequent adherence to ART among opioid-using HIV-infected IDU. Addressing international barriers to the use and availability of methadone may increase dramatically uptake of HIV treatment among this population.