To the Editor.—
Curtis et al1 present evidence that voluntary human immunodeficiency virus antibody testing and counseling for intravenous (IV) drug users is a desirable addition to methadone maintenance treatment programs. However, we are concerned by the authors' conclusion that "in the current year 89.8% of our sample reported no needle sharing, which certainly would argue against a plan to give clean needles or bleach."The needle-sharing potential of clients who relapse after methadone maintenance therapy and those currently in treatment is high. Clients in treatment represent only 15% of the estimated 1.1 to 1.3 million IV drug abusers in this country, 70% to 90% of whom are thought to share injection equipment.2 Interviews with more than 1700 active IV drug abusers recruited into our study by community-based acquired immunodeficiency syndrome outreach educators in five cities indicate that many active users not in treatment report prior methadone maintenance
Lampinen T, Wiebel WW, Watters JK. Intravenous Drug Users and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Testing and Counseling. JAMA. 1989;262(10):1331. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430100065027
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