High uptake of Medically Assisted Therapy among People Who Inject Drugs Associated with Modifiable Factors in Mathare Low Income Settlements, Nairobi, Kenya

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.07.01.Art011

Authors : George Macharia Wambugu, John Gachohi, Joseph Mutai


Background: The dramatic rise in intravenous drug use particularly heroin has been associated with elevated HIV transmission risk in sub-Saharan Africa. Medically assisted therapy (MAT) is crucial for HIV prevention in people who inject opioids including heroin. The objective of the present study was to determine the uptake of MAT among people who inject heroin (PWIH) and associated factors to assist in informing policy.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Mathare low income settlement in the city of Nairobi, Kenya. Injecting heroin users were recruited in the study during the routine follow-up at a drop-in Centre. Information about factors associated with uptake of MAT among Injecting heroin users was obtained using an interviewer-administered questionnaire.

Results: Of the 110 people PWIH enrolled in study, 73 respondents had ever enrolled for MAT (uptake: 66% (95% confidence interval (CI) 57%, 75%)). Socio-demographic factors associated with uptake of MAT included age, gender, marital status, education level and employment status (p<0.05). Association between uptake of MAT and characteristics/practices related to the use of heroin returned four significant variables (p<0.05): length of time the participant had injected heroin, daily frequency of heroin injection, prior attempt to quit heroin injection and polydrug use. Key health systems factors associated with uptake of MAT included personal views about eligibility criteria for PWID and hours of operation of the MAT clinic.

Conclusion: Our study identified modifiable factors associated with MAT in low income urban settlers which if prioritized can accelerate the already high uptake found in this study.

Keywords: Heroin, Therapy, Opioid, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Medically Assisted Therapy, People Who inject Drugs


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