HIV knowledge and risk behaviors among drug users in three Vietnamese mountainous provinces

Tam Minh Thi Nguyen, Bach Xuan Tran, Mercedes Fleming, Manh Duc Pham, Long Thanh Nguyen, Anh Lan Thi Nguyen, Huong Thi Le, Thang Huu Nguyen, Van Hai Hoang, Xuan Thanh Thi Le, Quan Hoang Vuong, Manh Tung Ho, Van Nhue Dam, Thu Trang Vuong, Vu Nguyen, Huong Lan Thi Nguyen, Huyen Phuc Do, Phuong Linh Doan, Hai Hong Nguyen, Carl A. LatkinCyrus S.H. Ho, Roger C.M. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Globally, people who inject drugs are highly vulnerable to HIV transmission. Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) programs are one of the most cost-effective mechanisms to substitute opioid use and improve the quality of life of patients. Since the coverage of MMT is still limited and even for those patients who are treated, improving their knowledge on HIV and maintaining healthy behaviors are key to maximizing the outcomes of HIV harm reduction programs. This study examined the knowledge on HIV, perceived risk and HIV testing among drug users accessing methadone maintenance services in three Vietnamese mountainous areas. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 300 people enrolling for MMT services in three provinces in Vietnam was conducted. The factors associated with the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of respondents about HIV/AIDS were exploited using multivariable logistic model. Results: Of the 300-people surveyed, 99% knew of HIV and 60.6% were identified as having good knowledge. While 75.2% identified that injecting drugs was a risk factor for HIV, 52.2% thought they were not at risk of HIV mainly as they did not share needles. 92.6% had undergone HIV testing with 17.4% being positive, a number which was significantly lower than Vietnam's national average for people who inject drugs. Age, ethnicity and education were associated with knowledge of HIV while ART treatment was linked to self-assessed HIV status. Conclusions: This study sheds new light on the knowledge attitudes and practices of people who inject drugs, particularly males in mountainous areas of Vietnam regarding HIV prevention. Overall, knowledge was good with most conducting safe practices towards transmission. Enhanced education and targeting of minority groups could help in increasing the numbers receiving MMT and HIV services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2019


  • Attitudes
  • HIV
  • Knowledge
  • Methadone maintenance
  • Mountainous Vietnam
  • Practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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