Intravenous heroin use in Haiphong, Vietnam: Need for comprehensive care including methamphetamine use-related interventions

The Drive Study Team

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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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-204
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Heroin
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • People who inject drugs
  • Vietnam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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