Drug addiction stigma in relation to methadone maintenance treatment by different service delivery models in Vietnam

Bach Xuan Tran, Phuong Bich Vu, Long Hoang Nguyen, Sophia Knowlton Latkin, Cuong Tat Nguyen, Huong Thu Thi Phan, Carl A. Latkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The rapid expansion of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) services has significantly improved health status and quality of life of patients. However, little is known about its impacts on addiction-related stigma and associated factors. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2013 in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, and Nam Dinh province among 1016 methadone maintenance patients; 26.6 % at provincial AIDS centers (PAC) and 73.4 % at district health centers (DHC), respectively. Drug addiction history and related stigma, health status, MMT-related covariates, and sociodemographic characteristics were interviewed. Results: More than one-sixth of the sample reported experiencing felt or enacted stigma, including Blame or Judgement (17.2 %), Shame (19.9 %), or Others' fear of HIV transmission (17.1 %). These proportions were higher in PACs than in DHCs, which are integrated with other HIV or general health care services. Very few patients reported being discriminated at the workplace (2.5 %) or at health care services (1.7 %); however, 15.6 % of patients at PACs and 10.6 % of patients at DHCs reported discrimination in their communities. Drug users taking MMT for longer periods were less likely to report felt stigma. Other factors associated with stigma against MMT patients included the lack of comprehensive services, higher education, presence of pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression, self-reported HIV positive, and number of previous drug rehabilitation episodes. Conclusion: The study shows a high level of stigma against MMT patients and emphasizes the necessity to integrate MMT with comprehensive health and support services. Mass communication campaigns to reduce stigma against people with drug addiction and HIV/AIDS, as well as vocational trainings and jobs referrals for MMT patients, are needed to maximize the benefits of MMT programs in Vietnam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number238
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 8 2016


  • Drug addiction
  • Methadone maintenance treatment
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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