We investigated the prevalence and correlated factors of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among heroin users attending methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) programs in Central Taiwan, and explored the degree of risk perception of HIV infection among the participants. Our study participants were 781 heroin users seeking treatment at the MMT program at Tsaotun Psychiatric Center in Taiwan. The presence of HIV antibodies was identified by microparticle enzyme immunoassay and confirmed by western blot. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify the independent correlates of HIV infection. The mean age of the sample was 36.1 years [standard deviation (SD) = 7.6]; of the patients, 710 (90.9%) were men. The prevalence of HIV infection among our study population was 20.7%. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that HIV infection was independently associated with the age of the patients of initial heroin use, heroin injection use, nondrug-related criminal convictions, needle-sharing behaviors, and sharing injection paraphernalia. A strong agreement existed between self-reported HIV serostatus and the results of laboratory analyses, with 88.8% of patients reporting their condition correctly. We found a high rate of HIV infection among patients in the MMT program. Factors associated with HIV infection were mostly related to drug-use behaviors. These findings stress the importance of education regarding drug-risk behaviors.
- Degree of risk perception
- Heroin users
- HIV infection
- Methadone maintenance treatment program
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