Opiate Substitution Therapies Cut HIV Transmission in Half

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According to a meta-analysis by a team of international researchers, opiate substitution therapies such as Methadone and Suboxone could cut the transmission of HIV by the use of tainted IVs by more than 50 percent.

Nine studies with more than 800 incidences of HIV examined

The study, co-authored by Julie Bruneau of the CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM) and Department of Family Medicine at the University of Montreal and published in the prestigious British Medical Journal, pooled together nine studies out of several countries, including Austria, Canada, China, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US that followed men between 26 and 39 for a total of almost 24,000 person-years and more than 800 incidences of HIV infection.

The impact of opiate substitution therapies

The study is the first of its kind to find a quantitative estimate of the impact of opiate substitution therapies vis-à-vis HIV transmission. The researchers believe that the 54 percent drop in risk of HIV infection among IV drug users that they calculated stands as strong evidence of the efficacy of such therapies.

They argue that it also stands as strong evidence of the need for such programs in parts of the world where gaining access to opiate substitution therapies is particularly tough, and in other parts where the HIV rate is especially high.

"There is good evidence to suggest that opiate substitution therapies (OST) reduce drug-related mortality, morbidity and some of the injection risk behaviors among people who inject drugs," said Bruneau.

Source: Medical News Today

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