Untreated opioid dependence increases HIV transmission globally. Although previous research has shown that methadone treatment can reduce HIV risk behavior and seroconversion, little data exist on whether office-based treatment with buprenorphine/ naloxone can have the same effects. This study attempts to address this data gap.
The authors conducted a longitudinal analysis of 166 opiod-dependent people receiving buprenorphine/naloxone treatment in a primary care clinic. After 12 and 24 weeks, drug-related and sex-related HIV risk behaviors were compared with baseline using the AIDS/HIV Risk Inventory.
A primary limitation of this study is the use of self-reported data, as study participants commonly underreport high-risk behaviors. Further efforts to combine buprenorphine treatment programs with counseling aimed specifically at reducing high-risk HIV-transmitting behaviors would likely show even greater effects.