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Impact of Methadone With Versus Without Drug Abuse Counseling on HIV Risk: 4- and 12-Month Findings From a Clinical Trial

Kelly, Sharon M. PhD; Schwartz, Robert P. MD; O'Grady, Kevin E. PhD; Gandhi, Devang MD; Jaffe, Jerome H. MD

Journal of Addiction Medicine: June 2012 - Volume 6 - Issue 2 - p 145–152
doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e31823ae556
Original Research

Objective: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-risk behaviors were examined at 4- and 12-month follow-up for 230 newly admitted methadone patients randomly assigned to receive either methadone only (n = 99) or methadone with drug abuse counseling (n = 131) in the first 4 months of treatment.

Methods: The AIDS Risk Assessment was administered at baseline (treatment entry) and at 4- and 12-month follow-up. Linear mixed model analysis examined changes in HIV drug- and sex-risk behaviors over the 12 months in the total sample, drug-risk behaviors in the subsample that reported injecting drugs at baseline (n = 110), and sex-risk behaviors in the subsample that reported engaging in unprotected sex at baseline (n = 130).

Results: Significant decreases over time were found in the frequencies of injecting, injecting with other injectors, and sharing cooker, cotton, or rinse water in the total sample and the injector subsample (P < 0.05). Decreases were also found in the frequencies of having sex without a condom either with someone who was not a spouse or primary partner or while high (P < 0.05) in the total sample and the frequencies of having sex without a condom and having sex without a condom while high in the unprotected-sex subsample (P < 0.05). No significant treatment group main effects or Treatment Group × Time interaction effects were found in any of the HIV-risk behaviors in the total sample or either subsample (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: During the first 12 months of treatment, providing drug abuse counseling with methadone compared with providing methadone alone was not associated with significant changes in HIV-risk behaviors for methadone maintenance patients.

From the Friends Research Institute, Baltimore, MD (SMK, RPS, JHJ); University of Maryland, College Park, MD (KEG); and University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD (DG, JHJ).

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Sharon M. Kelly, Friends Research Institute, Inc., 1040 Park Avenue, Suite 103, Baltimore, MD 21201. E-mail:

Supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) grant 2R01 DA 13636 entitled “Entry into Comprehensive Methadone Treatment via Interim Maintenance” (PI Schwartz) and by The Abell Foundation, which provided support for the counselor position in the restored methadone condition.

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIDA or The Abell Foundation.

Received June 03, 2011

Accepted June 02, 2011

© 2012 American Society of Addiction Medicine