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BMC Infect Dis. 2011 Feb 15;11:45. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-11-45.

Study design and participant characteristics of a randomized controlled trial of directly administered antiretroviral therapy in opioid treatment programs.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



HIV-infected drug users are at higher risk of non-adherence and poor treatment outcomes than HIV-infected non-drug users. Prior work from our group and others suggests that directly administered antiretroviral therapy (DAART) delivered in opioid treatment programs (OTPs) may increase rates of viral suppression.


We are conducting a randomized trial comparing DAART to self-administered therapy (SAT) in 5 OTPs in Baltimore, Maryland. Participants and investigators are aware of treatment assignments. The DAART intervention is 12 months. The primary outcome is HIV RNA < 50 copies/mL at 3, 6, and 12 months. To assess persistence of any study arm differences that emerge during the active intervention, we are conducting an 18-month visit (6 months after the intervention concludes). We are collecting electronic adherence data for 2 months in both study arms. Of 457 individuals screened, a total of 107 participants were enrolled, with 56 and 51 randomly assigned to DAART and SAT, respectively. Participants were predominantly African American, approximately half were women, and the median age was 47 years. Active use of cocaine and other drugs was common at baseline. HIV disease stage was advanced in most participants. The median CD4 count at enrollment was 207 cells/mm3, 66 (62%) had a history of an AIDS-defining opportunistic condition, and 21 (20%) were antiretroviral naïve.


This paper describes the rationale, methods, and baseline characteristics of subjects enrolled in a randomized clinical trial comparing DAART to SAT in opioid treatment programs.


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