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Research Summary

Effect of Buprenorphine/Naloxone Treatment on HIV Risk Behaviors in Opioid-Dependent Youth

Buprenorphine/naloxone (BUP) treatment is an effective component of HIV prevention and has been shown to decrease opioid use in opioid-dependent adolescents, who are at particularly high risk for HIV infection. This analysis compared HIV, drug, and sexual risk behaviors based on gender and treatment condition (12-week BUP treatment versus 2-week BUP detoxification) among opioid-dependent treatment-seeking adolescents enrolled in a multisite randomized clinical trial. Eighty-nine participants were male, and 61 were female; 72% were white, and the median age was 19 years (range, 15–21 years).

  • Fifty-one percent of females and 45% of males reported injection drug use (IDU) at baseline. Of these, 77% of females and 35% of males engaged in injection risk behavior (e.g., using dirty needles, sharing injection equipment, splitting drug solution).
  • Eighty-two percent of females and 74% of males were sexually active at baseline. Of these, 14% of females and 24% of males had multiple partners, and 68% of females and 65% of males reported noncondom use.
  • Although the proportion of those who reported IDU decreased over time (particularly for participants in the 12-week group, and of these, especially among females), injection risk behavior did not change in participants with continued IDU.
  • The proportion of those who reported sexual activity also decreased for both genders and treatment conditions over time, but sexual risk behaviors did not.

Comments:

In this secondary data analysis, although the rate of IDU and sexual activity decreased among adolescents receiving BUP treatment, HIV-transmission risk behaviors did not. This suggests risk-reduction counseling in addition to BUP treatment may be needed to promote greater decreases in HIV risk. Jeanette M. Tetrault, MD

Reference:

Meade CS, Weiss RD, Fitzmaurice GM, et al. HIV risk behavior in treatment-seeking opioid-dependent youth: results from a NIDA clinical trials network multisite study. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2010;55(1):65–72.

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