Background Public Health Department STD clinics often serve high risk populations that have limited access to treatment of opiate addiction using evidence-based medication assisted therapies (buprenorphine and methadone) and to other clinical preventive services. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the southwestern US, an urban STD clinic has developed an integrated buprenorphine induction program for injecting heroin users that prioritises those recently released from a county jail. Patients are also recruited directly from the STD clinic and from a co-located syringe exchange program.
Methods Patients enrolled in the buprenorphine induction program who met specific screening criteria were tested for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis. Patients who completed 2 months of buprenorphine were referred to primary care providers for continuation of treatment.
Results In the first 2 years, a total of 291 patients received buprenorphine. 85 clients (29.2%) were referred to the program from public health programs including STD clinic, family planning and harm reduction. 67 (23.0%) were recently released from jail. Of the first 191 patients, 55 (28%) completed 2 months of buprenorphine treatment. 1 of 160 clients screened for syphilis were positive. 68 of 131 (51.9%) screened for hepatitis C were positive. 10 of 89 (11.2%) screened for gonorrhoea and chlamydia were positive for one or both infections. 194 were tested for HIV; none were positive.
Conclusion An integrated STD clinic and opiate addiction treatment program can provide comprehensive services to a high risk population.
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