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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Apr 16;(2):CD004145. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004145.pub3.

Substitution treatment of injecting opioid users for prevention of HIV infection.

Author information

1
University of Adelaide, Department of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology, DASC Evidence-Bsed Practice Unit, Adelaide, Australia, 5005. linda.gowing@adelaide.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Injecting drug users are vulnerable to infection with HIV and other blood borne viruses as a result of collective use of injecting equipment as well as sexual behaviour.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effect of oral substitution treatment for opioid dependent injecting drug users on rates of HIV infections, and high risk behaviours.

SEARCH STRATEGY:

We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsycINFO to March 2007. We also searched reference lists of articles, reviews and conference abstracts

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Studies were required to consider the incidence of risk behaviours, or the incidence of HIV infection related to substitution treatment of opioid dependence. All types of original studies were considered. Two reviewers independently assessed studies for inclusion.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

One reviewer extracted data from included studies, assessed quality and confirmed decisions by consulting with all other reviewers.

MAIN RESULTS:

Thirty-three studies, involving 10,400 participants, were included. The majority were not randomised controlled studies and there were problems of confounding and bias. The studies varied in several aspects limiting the extent of quantitative analysis. Studies consistently show that oral substitution treatment for opioid-dependent injecting drug users is associated with statistically significant reductions in illicit opioid use, injecting use and sharing of injecting equipment. It is also associated with reductions in the proportion of injecting drug users reporting multiple sex partners or exchanges of sex for drugs or money, but has little effect on condom use. It appears that the reductions in risk behaviours related to drug use do translate into reductions in cases of HIV infection.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

Oral substitution treatment for injecting opioid users reduces drug-related behaviours with a high risk of HIV transmission, but has less effect on sex-related risk behaviours. The lack of data from randomised controlled studies limits the strength of the evidence presented in this review.

PMID:
18425898
DOI:
10.1002/14651858.CD004145.pub3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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