• Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has become widespread among parenteral drug abusers. We measured antibody to HIV and hepatitis B virus markers in 58 long-term, socially rehabilitated methadone-maintained former heroin addicts. None of the 58 had antibody to HIV, but one or more markers of hepatitis B virus infection were seen in 53(91%). The duration of methadone maintenance was 16.9±0.5 years, and the median dose of methadone was 60 mg (range, 5 to 100 mg). Before methadone treatment, the patients had abused heroin parenterally for 10.3±17 years, and they had engaged in additional high-risk practices for HIV infection. We conclude that successful outcomes during methadone maintenance treatment are associated with sparing of parenteral drug abusers from HIV infection.
(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:97-99)