Methods: We included all consecutive HIV-1-infected ADU admitted for drug dependency treatment and who started their first HAART. A comparator arm consisted of a control group of sexually transmitted HIV-1-infected subjects attended in a reference hospital under standard care. The strategy did not include directly observed treatment.
Results: A total of 71 ADU and 48 matched subjects infected through sexual transmission were included. ADU had lower baseline CD4+ T-cell counts (196 vs 279 cells/μL, P=.001), and more advanced CDC stages (P=.001). The estimated probabilities of patients with virological response (<50 copies/mL) at weeks 48 and 96 were 92.9% (95%-CI: 87.1%—99.1%) and 87.3% (95%-CI: 78.7%—95.2% for ADU, and 93.7%(95%-CI: 84.1%—99.8%) and 87.5% (95%-CI: 77.5%—97.3%) for sexually-infected subjects (P= .1325 and .241). Kaplan-Meier estimates of time to loss of virological response did not show differences between groups (log rank test, P=.965).
Conclusions: An integrated multidisciplinary care of HIV-1-infected antiretroviral naïve ADU provided in a drug abuse treatment center obtains high rates of virological suppression, similar to those observed in a comparison group of sexually-transmitted HIV-1-infected subjects. This strategy should be further evaluated in public health programs and assessed in randomized trials.