Objective: This study was part of a national, multisite demonstration project evaluating the impact of integrated buprenorphine/naloxone treatment and HIV care. The goals of this study were to describe the baseline demographic, clinical, and substance use characteristics of the participants and to explore HIV transmission risk behaviors in this group.
Methods: Nine sites across the United States participated. Data obtained by interview and chart review included demographic information, medical history, substance use, and risk behaviors.We performed a descriptive analysis of patient characteristics at entry and used logistic regression to evaluate factors associated with 1) unprotected anal or vaginal sex; and 2) needle-sharing within the previous 90 days.
Results: Three hundred eighty-six individuals were included in the study: 303 (78.5%) received buprenorphine/naloxone; 41 (10.6%) received methadone; and 42 (10.9%) received another form of treatment. The analysis of risk behaviors was limited to those in the buprenorphine group (n = 303). Among those reporting vaginal or anal sex in the previous 90 days, 24% had sex without a condom. Factors significantly associated with unprotected sex were: having a partner; female gender; and alcohol use in previous 30 days. A total of 8.9% of participants shared needles in the previous 90 days. Factors significantly associated with needle-sharing were: amphetamine use; marijuana use; homelessness; and anxiety.
Conclusions: Addressing transmission risk behaviors is an important secondary HIV prevention strategy. In addition to treatment for opioid dependence, addressing other substance use, social issues, particularly housing, and mental health may have important implications for reducing HIV transmission in HIV-infected opioid-dependent patients.