Risk factors associated with HIV/HCV infection among entrants in methadone maintenance treatment clinics in China: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Xun Zhuang, Yafei Wang, Eric P F Chow, Yanxian Liang, David Wilson, Lei Zhang

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) has rapidly expanded in China, from 8 pilot sites to 696 clinics covering 27 provinces, during 2004-2010. This study evaluates the demographic characteristics and drug use behaviors associated with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infections among MMT entrants through a systematic review and meta-analysis of published literature. 

Methods: Thirty-nine eligible articles (1 in English and 38 in Chinese) were selected for this review. We extracted the relevant indicator information from all eligible studies and performed meta-analyses, by stratifying according to sex of the participants, age groups and drug use behaviors. Five provinces (i.e., Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Guangxi and Xinjiang) with the population size of HIV-infected drug users greater than 10,000 were defined as high transmission areas (HTAs) for HIV infection; whereas the remaining twenty-six Chinese provinces were considered as low transmission areas (LTAs). 

Results: The odds of being infected by HIV among male drug users were significantly higher than for females in high transmission areas (OR = 1.49, 95% CI: 1.11-1.99, k=9), while the opposite results were observed in low transmission areas (OR = 0.46, 0.27-0.79, k=11). In comparison, no significant differences in risk behaviors were found between sexes in HTAs and LTAs. Younger age was not associated with risk of HIV infection, but was associated with higher risk of HCV infection (40 years, k=17). Risk of HIV infection was higher among injectors than non-injectors (OR = 4.29, 2.70-6.79, k=14) and for those who inject, there was greater risk among sharers than non-sharers (OR = 2.47, 1.44-4.23, k=4). Similar patterns were also observed in HCV infection (injectors: OR = 10.82, 7.60-15.40; sharers: OR = 3.41, 2.56-4.54, k=7). 

Conclusions: Characteristics of MMT entrants positive for HIV or HCV in China vary by disease types, geographical region, sex, age, and injecting behavior. These factors need to be considered in targeted interventions for MMT participants, such as age-specific health education and psychological treatment, antiretroviral therapy and needle-syringe exchange programs. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-295
Number of pages10
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • HCV
  • HIV
  • Meta-analysis
  • Methadone maintenance treatment
  • Odds ratio

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