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Article
January 13, 1989

HIV Screening and Counseling for Intravenous Drug Abuse PatientsStaff and Patient Attitudes

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and Substance Abuse Services, Harlem Hospital Center, New York.

From the Department of Psychiatry and Substance Abuse Services, Harlem Hospital Center, New York.

JAMA. 1989;261(2):258-262. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420020112040
Abstract

At least one third of patients enrolled in a methadone maintenance treatment program are willing to comply voluntarily with screening for and counseling about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A questionnaire about knowledge, attitudes, and behavior concerning acquired immunodeficiency syndrome was answered anonymously by 79% (46) of the clinical staff and 67% (868) of the enrolled patients. On their own initiative, 21% of the patients had already received voluntary anonymous HIV screening and brief counseling, seldom discussing the result with the staff. Approximately 90% of the staff and a majority of the patients (72%) thought a voluntary HIV screening program should be offered to all patients. Almost all staff (98%), but only 50% of the patients, felt the HIV test results should be known to physicians, nurses, and counselors at the clinic. Few staff members (15%) believed that patients had changed their sex behavior; more (48%) felt that needle sharing was reduced. Patients believed methadone patients in general had changed their sex behavior (49.2%) and reduced needle sharing (62%) to prevent becoming infected. Patients reported statistically significant reductions both in number of sex partners and in personal needle sharing during the past year.

(JAMA 1989;261:258-262)

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