BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to describe patterns among people who inject drugs (PWID), risk-related behaviours and access to methadone treatment, in order to design a large-scale intervention aiming to end the HIV epidemic in Haiphong, Vietnam.
METHODS: A respondent-driven sampling (RDS) survey was first conducted to identify profiles of drug use and HIV risk-related behaviour among PWID. A sample of PWID was then included in a one-year cohort study to describe access to methadone treatment and associated factors.
RESULTS: Among the 603 patients enrolled in the RDS survey, 10% were female, all were injecting heroin and 24% were using methamphetamine, including 3 (0.5%) through injection. Different profiles of risk-related behaviours were identified, including one entailing high-risk sexual behaviour (n=37) and another involving drug-related high-risk practices (n=22). High-risk sexual activity was related to binge drinking and methamphetamine use. Among subjects with low sexual risk, sexual intercourse with a main partner with unknown serostatus was often unprotected. Among the 250 PWID included in the cohort, 55.2% initiated methadone treatment during the follow-up (versus 4.4% at RDS); methamphetamine use significantly increased. The factors associated with not being treated with methadone after 52 weeks were fewer injections per month and being a methamphetamine user at RDS.
CONCLUSION: Heroin is still the main drug injected in Haiphong. Methamphetamine use is increasing markedly and is associated with delay in methadone initiation. Drug-related risks are low but sexual risk behaviours are still present. Comprehensive approaches are needed in the short term.
Intravenous heroin use in Haiphong, Vietnam: Need for comprehensive care including methamphetamine use-related interventions
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 179, 198-204. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.07.004. PMCID: PMC5911921.