Integrated HIV care is associated with improved engagement in treatment in an urban methadone clinic

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Background: Persons living with HIV and unhealthy substance use are often less engaged in HIV care, have higher morbidity and mortality and are at increased risk of transmitting HIV to uninfected partners. We developed a quality-improvement tracking system at an urban methadone clinic to monitor patients along the HIV care continuum and identify patients needing intervention. Objective: To evaluate patient outcomes along the HIV Care Continuum at an urban methadone clinic and explore the relationship of HIV primary care site and patient demographic characteristics with retention in HIV treatment and viral suppression. Methods: We reviewed electronic medical record data from 2015 for all methadone clinic patients with known HIV disease, including age, gender, race, HIV care sites, HIV care visit dates and HIV viral load. Patients received either HIV primary care at the methadone clinic, an HIV specialty clinic located in the adjacent building, or a community clinic. Retention was defined as an HIV primary care visit in both halves of the year. Viral suppression was defined as an HIV viral load <40 copies/ml at the last lab draw. Results: The population (n = 65) was 63% male, 82% age 45 or older and 60% non-Caucasian. Of these 65 patients 77% (n = 50) were retained in care and 80% (n = 52) were virologically suppressed. Viral suppression was significantly higher for women (p =.022) and patients 45 years or older (p =.034). There was a trend towards greater retention in care and viral suppression among patients receiving HIV care at the methadone clinic (93, 93%) compared to the HIV clinic (74, 79%) or community clinics (62, 62%). Conclusions: Retention in HIV care and viral suppression are high in an urban methadone clinic providing integrated HIV services. This quality improvement analysis supports integrating HIV primary care with methadone treatment services for this at-risk population.




Simeone, C., Shapiro, B., & Lum, P. J. (2017). Integrated HIV care is associated with improved engagement in treatment in an urban methadone clinic. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 12(1).

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