INTRODUCTION: Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) is crucial for HIV prevention and treatment in people who inject opioids. In Malaysia, a large proportion of the prison population is affected by both HIV and opioid use disorders. This study assessed individual preferences and factors associated with interest in receiving MMT among male prisoners meeting criteria for opioid dependence in Malaysia.
METHODS: A convenience sample of 96 HIV-positive and 104 HIV-negative incarcerated men who met pre-incarceration criteria for opioid dependence was interviewed using a structured questionnaire to examine participant characteristics and attitudes toward MMT. Factors associated with interest in prison-based MMT initiation were identified using logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS: Among all participants, 85 (42.5%) were interested in receiving MMT within prison. Independent correlates of interest in prison-based MMT were being previously married (AOR=4.15, 95% CI: 1.15, 15.02), previously incarcerated (AOR=5.68, 95% CI: 1.54, 21.02), depression (AOR=3.66, 95% CI: 1.68, 7.98), daily heroin use in the 30days prior to incarceration (AOR=5.53, 95% CI: 1.65, 18.58), and more favorable attitudes toward MMT (AOR=19.82, 95% CI: 6.07, 64.74).
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, interest in receiving prison-based MMT was low, and was associated with adverse social, mental health, and drug use consequences. Incarceration provides a unique opportunity to initiate MMT for those who need it, however, optimal scale-up efforts must be systemic and address modifiable factors like improving attitudes toward and motivation for MMT. Informed or shared decision-making tools may be useful in improving expectations and acceptability of MMT.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.