Quality of Life Research

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 613–623 | Cite as

Changes in drug use are associated with health-related quality of life improvements among methadone maintenance patients with HIV/AIDS

  • Bach Xuan TranEmail author
  • Arto Ohinmaa
  • Anh Thuy Duong
  • Nhan Thi Do
  • Long Thanh Nguyen
  • Quoc Cuong Nguyen
  • Steve Mills
  • Philip Jacobs
  • Stan Houston



This longitudinal study assessed the changes in drug use patterns and health-related quality of life (HRQL) among HIV-positive drug users in the first methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) cohort in Vietnam.


A secondary analysis was conducted on 370 HIV-positive drug users (age: mean ± SD: 29.5 ± 5.9 years; 95.7% men). Modified WHOQOL-BREF, self-report, and opioid confirmatory urine tests were used to assess HRQL and drug use behaviours at baseline, 3, 6, and 9 months. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) models were constructed to adjust for intra-individual correlations.


MMT response rate after 9 months was 89.9%. Rates of positive heroin urine tests rapidly decreased at the first trimester (18.1%) and then stabilized during the next 2 trimesters (11.8 and 14.4%). Among patients with continued drug use, frequency of use decreased from 3.4 to 0.7 time/day. Improvements in HRQL were large over the course of the study and highest in the psychological domain. Adjusting for propensity score in GEE models, ongoing heroin use during MMT resulted in large decrements in all HRQL domains.


MMT improved the outcomes of treatment for drug users in ways that might facilitate success of antiretroviral therapy. Integrating MMT to HIV care and treatment services could be beneficial in injection-driven HIV epidemics in resource-scare settings.


Quality of life HIV Drug use Methadone Vietnam WHOQOL-BREF 



We wish to acknowledge the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC), Ministry of Health for their approval on secondary data use. We also acknowledge Dr Tran Vu Hoang, Dr Tran Thi Thanh Ha (Family Health International (FHI), Vietnam), Dr Masaya Kato, and Dr David Jacka (WHO, Vietnam) for valuable comments. We offer special thanks to programme officers at VAAC and FHI for their data management support. We greatly appreciate the constructive comments from anonymous reviewers and the cooperation of all study participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bach Xuan Tran
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Arto Ohinmaa
    • 1
    • 3
  • Anh Thuy Duong
    • 4
  • Nhan Thi Do
    • 4
  • Long Thanh Nguyen
    • 4
  • Quoc Cuong Nguyen
    • 5
  • Steve Mills
    • 5
  • Philip Jacobs
    • 3
    • 6
  • Stan Houston
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.1-42, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public HealthHanoi Medical UniversityHanoiVietnam
  3. 3.Institute of Health EconomicsEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.Administration of HIV/AIDS ControlMinistry of HealthHanoiVietnam
  5. 5.Family Health InternationalHanoiVietnam
  6. 6.Faculty of Medicine and DentistryUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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