APPROACH: After developing standard operating procedures and agreement between its Prisons Department and Ministry of Health, Malaysia established pilot MMT programmes in two prisons in the states of Kelantan (2008) and Selangor (2009) - those with the highest proportions of HIV-infected prisoners. Community-based MMT programmes were also established in Malaysia to integrate treatment activities after prisoners' release.
LOCAL SETTING: Having failed to reduce the incidence of HIV infection, in 2005 Malaysia embarked on a harm reduction strategy.
RELEVANT CHANGES: STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES WERE MODIFIED TO: (i) escalate the dose of methadone more slowly; (ii) provide ongoing education and training for medical and correctional staff and inmates; (iii) increase the duration of methadone treatment before releasing prisoners; (iv) reinforce linkages with community MMT programmes after prisoners' release; (v) screen for and treat tuberculosis; (vi) escalate the dose of methadone during treatment for HIV infection and tuberculosis; and (vii) optimize the daily oral dose of methadone (> 80 mg) before releasing prisoners.
LESSONS LEARNT: Prison-based MMT programmes can be effectively implemented but require adequate dosing and measures are needed to improve communication between prison and police authorities, prevent police harassment of MMT clients after their release, and improve systems for tracking release dates.
METHODS: Survey results from 1613 randomly selected PWID from 5 regions in Ukraine who were currently, previously or never on OAT were analyzed for their preference of pharmacological therapies for treating OUDs. For those preferring XR-NTX, independent correlates of their willingness to initiate XR-NTX were examined.
RESULTS: Among the 1613 PWID, 449 (27.8%) were interested in initiating XR-NTX. Independent correlates associated with interest in XR-NTX included: being from Mykolaiv (AOR=3.7, 95% CI=2.3-6.1) or Dnipro (AOR=1.8, 95% CI=1.1-2.9); never having been on OAT (AOR=3.4, 95% CI=2.1-5.4); shorter-term injectors (AOR=0.9, 95% CI 0.9-0.98); and inversely for both positive (AOR=0.8, CI=0.8-0.9), and negative attitudes toward OAT (AOR=1.3, CI=1.2-1.4), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: In the context of Eastern Europe and Central Asia where HIV is concentrated in PWID and where HIV prevention with OAT is under-scaled, new options for treating OUDs are urgently needed.
FINDINGS: here suggest that XR-NTX could become an option for addiction treatment and HIV prevention especially for PWID who have shorter duration of injection and who harbor negative attitudes to OAT. Decision aids that inform patient preferences with accurate information about the various treatment options are likely to guide patients toward better, patient-centered treatments and improve treatment entry and retention.
METHODS: Physicians in Malaysia (N = 214) who prescribe antiretroviral therapy (ART) responded in an Internet-based survey to hypothetical clinical scenarios of HIV patients, varying by key risk population and CD4+T-cell count, on whether they would initiate or defer ART compared with a control patient with sexually acquired HIV.
RESULTS: The proportion of physicians who would defer ART in patients with advanced HIV (CD4 = 17 cells/μL) was significantly higher (P< .0001) for 4 key populations, including people who inject drugs ([PWID] 45.3%) or consume alcohol (42.1%), released prisoners (35.0%), and those lacking social support (26.6%), compared with a control patient (4.2%). People who inject drugs with advanced HIV (CD4 = 17 cells/μL) were 19-fold (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 18.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 9.8-36.5) more likely to have ART deferred compared with the control. This effect was partially mitigated for PWID receiving methadone (AOR = 2.9; 95% CI, 1.5-5.7). At the highest CD4+T-cell count (CD4 = 470 cells/μL), sex workers (AOR = 0.55; 95% CI, .44-.70) and patients with an HIV-uninfected sexual partner (AOR = 0.43; 95% CI, .34-.57) were significantly less likely to have ART deferred.
CONCLUSIONS: Physicians who prescribe antiretroviral therapy in Malaysia may defer ART in some key populations including PWID and released prisoners, regardless of CD4+T-cell count, which may help to explain very low rates of ART coverage among PWID in Malaysia. Reducing HIV incidence and mortality in Malaysia, where HIV is concentrated in PWID and other key populations, requires clinician-level interventions and monitoring physician adherence to international evidence-based treatment guidelines.
METHODS: Nominal Group Technique (NGT), a key ingredient of the NIATx toolkit, was directed by three trained coaches within a learning collaborative of 18 OAT clinicians and administrators to identify barriers to increase OAT capacity at the regional "oblast" level, develop solutions, and prioritize local change projects. NGT findings were supplemented from detailed notes collected during the NGT discussion.
RESULTS: The top three identified barriers included: (1) Strict regulations and inflexible policies dictating distribution and dispensing of OAT; (2) No systematic approach to assessing OAT needs on regional or local level; and (3) Limited funding and financing mechanisms combined with a lack of local/regional control over funding for OAT treatment services.
CONCLUSIONS: NGT provides a rapid strategy for individuals at multiple levels to work collaboratively to identify and address structural barriers to OAT scale-up. This technique creates a transparent process to address and prioritize complex issues. Targeting these priorities allowed leaders at the regional and national level to advocate collectively for approaches to minimize obstacles and create policies to improve OAT services.