This study compares the injecting and sexual risk‐taking behaviour among injecting drug users (IDUs) currently, previously and never enrolled in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT). All subjects had injected during the 6 months prior to the day of interview. The current MMT group showed significantly lower injecting risk‐taking behaviour subscale scores on the HIV Risk‐taking Behaviour Scale (HRBS) of the Opiate Treatment Index than the previous MMT and non‐MMT groups together. The current MMT group differed from the other two groups in the frequency of injecting and cleaning of injection equipment with bleach. There was no difference between the current MMT group and the other two groups combined in sexual risk‐taking behaviour scores on the HRBS. There were no differences between the previous MMT and non‐MMT groups in injecting and sexual risk‐taking behaviour. HIV seroprevalence was low and there was no difference in seroprevalence between groups. Thus, IDUs currently enrolled in MMT are at reduced risk for HIV infection when compared with IDUs who have previously or never been enrolled in MMT. However, the absence of a difference between the current MMT and other two groups in frequency of sharing behaviours suggests the need for additional strategies among MMT clients to reduce needle‐sharing. Possible strategies include the application of relapse prevention interventions and the availability of sterile injecting equipment in MMT clinics. Further research is needed to identify factors which increase attraction and retention of IDUs to MMT.
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|Published - 1995