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January 1990

Absence of Antibody to Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Long-term, Socially Rehabilitated Methadone Maintenance Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine (Drs Novick, Croxson, Salsitz, Poretsky, Keefe, and Whimbey) and the Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program (Dr Richman), Beth Israel Medical Center and Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, the New York State Division of Substance Abuse Services (Mr Joseph), and the Division of Ambulatory Care, St Luke's— Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (Dr Wang), New York, NY.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(1):97-99. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390130099014

• Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has become widespread among parenteral drug abusers. We measured antibody to HIV and hepatitis B virus markers in 58 long-term, socially rehabilitated methadone-maintained former heroin addicts. None of the 58 had antibody to HIV, but one or more markers of hepatitis B virus infection were seen in 53(91%). The duration of methadone maintenance was 16.9±0.5 years, and the median dose of methadone was 60 mg (range, 5 to 100 mg). Before methadone treatment, the patients had abused heroin parenterally for 10.3±17 years, and they had engaged in additional high-risk practices for HIV infection. We conclude that successful outcomes during methadone maintenance treatment are associated with sparing of parenteral drug abusers from HIV infection.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:97-99)