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Int J Drug Policy. 2017 Oct;48:44-53. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.05.014. Epub 2017 Aug 8.

Retention in medication-assisted treatment programs in Ukraine-Identifying factors contributing to a continuing HIV epidemic.

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Ukrainian Institute on Public Health Policy, Kyiv, Ukraine. Electronic address:
Ukrainian Institute on Public Health Policy, Kyiv, Ukraine.
Yale University School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, New Haven, CT, USA.
Yale University School of Medicine and School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA.



Opioid agonist treatments (OAT) are widely-used, evidence-based strategies for treating opioid dependence and reducing HIV transmission. The positive benefits of OAT are strongly correlated with time spent in treatment, making retention a key indicator for program quality. This study assessed patient retention and associated factors in Ukraine, where OAT was first introduced in 2004.


Data from clinical records of 2916 patients enrolled in OAT at thirteen sites from 2005 to 2012 were entered into an electronic monitoring system. Survival analysis methods were used to determine the probability of retention and its correlates.


Twelve-month retention was 65.8%, improving from 27.7% in 2005, to 70.9% in 2011. In multivariable analyses, the correlates of retention were receiving medium and high doses of medication (compared to low doses, dropout aHR=0.57 for both medium and high doses), having not been tested for HIV and tuberculosis (compared to not being tested, dropout aHR=4.44 and 3.34, respectively), and among those who were tested-a negative TB test result (compared to receiving a positive test result, dropout aHR=0.67).


Retention in Ukrainian OAT programs, especially in recent years, is comparable to other countries. The results confirm the importance of adequate OAT dosing (≥60mg of methadone, ≥8mg of buprenorphine). Higher dosing, however, will require interventions that address negative attitudes toward OAT by patients and providers. Interruption of OAT, in the case developing tuberculosis, should incorporate continuity of OAT for TB patients through integrated care delivery systems.


Buprenorphine; HIV; Medication-assisted treatment; Methadone; Opioid agonist treatment; Opioid use disorders; Retention

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