Southwest China Opens Methadone Clinics in Border Areas to Prevent Spread of HIV
January 7, 2008
Yunnan Province opened seven mobile methadone treatment clinics last year in rural areas along the drug-producing Golden Triangle. The area, which borders parts of Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, has a high burden of heroin use. Methadone substitution treatment is intended to prevent drug users from injecting heroin and thus avoid HIV exposure through syringes.
The southwestern province intended to open 22 new clinics in 2007 but only managed to set up 14, said Zhang Ruimin, deputy director of the Yunnan Provincial Institute for Drug Abuse. That brought the province's total number of methadone clinics up to 67, including eight mobile clinics, Zhang said.
Most of the province's HIV cases are drug users, according to Yunnan's AIDS prevention and control bureau.
"Methadone treatment is an effective way to prevent HIV from spreading among drug users," said Zhang. "However, those drug addicts in rural areas usually have a slim chance of receiving methadone treatment."
China began methadone treatment in 2003, and its more than 500 methadone clinics had treated 95,000 clients by the end of last year.
Xinhua News Agency
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.