Entering Methadone Maintenance Treatment Has Little Impact on HIV Sex-Risk Behaviors in Heroin-Addicted Adults
Entry into methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) has been shown to reduce drug-related HIV risk behaviors, but the impact on HIV sex-risk behaviors is less clear. In this observational study in Baltimore, MD, 351 subjects with heroin dependence newly admitted to MMT were compared with 164 out-of-treatment subjects recruited from the street. The main outcome measures were the 10 sex-risk items on the AIDS Risk Assessment administered at baseline and at 6 and 12 months.
- The demographic characteristics of the 2 groups were similar, and there were no significant differences in age, gender, or race.
- The out-of-treatment group reported having a higher number of sexual partners than those entering MMT at baseline and at 6 and 12 months, and higher frequency of sex at baseline (but not at 6 and 12 months). Results on the other measures were not significantly different.
- Those entering MMT reported a significant reduction in 1 measured risk behavior after 6 months (but not at 12 months): frequency of unprotected sex while high or with someone who was high. Results on the other measures were not significantly different.