A survey of opioid treatment programs finds that the proportion offering on-site testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) declined substantially between 2000 and 2011, despite guidelines recommending routine opt-out HIV testing in all health care settings, according to a study appearing in the December 25 issue of JAMA.
"Opioid dependence is a risk factor for HIV, STIs, and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Opioid treatment programs, which provide treatment to more than 300,000 opioid-dependent individuals in the United States, are well-positioned to offer testing for these infectious diseases to a high-risk population. They were among the first venues to offer HIV testing and are more likely to offer HIV, STI, and HCV testing than other drug treatment programs. Private for-profit opioid treatment programs are increasingly widespread and such programs offer on-site HIV testing less often than nonprofit and public programs. However, with the 2006 national recommendations for routine opt-out HIV testing, we hypothesized that the percentage of programs offering on-site testing for HIV, STIs, and HCV would increase," the authors write.
Marcus A. Bachhuber, M.D., and Chinazo O. Cunningham, M.D., M.S., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, analyzed data from a survey sent to directors of drug treatment facilities and tabulated the percentage of opioid treatment programs offering on-site HIV, STI, and HCV testing from 2000 to 2011.