This study, lead by Methods Core’s Dr. Li Li, was published in APJH on May 09, 2018.
More information on this study is available on Pubmed here. The following is an excerpt from the publication. To see the full publication on the APJH site, click here.
Drug use is the leading contributor to the HIV epidemic in Vietnam.1 There are 271 000 people who inject drugs (PWID) in Vietnam, and approximately 85% of PWID in Vietnam are heroin users.1 The prevalence of HIV among PWID is high, and two thirds of all HIV cases were infected through needle sharing related to drug use.2,3 Because heroin dependence is a chronic remitting condition, the postdetoxification relapse rate is as high as 90%.1 In response, the Vietnamese government has established and expanded harm-reduction programs, including methadone maintenance therapy and needle and syringe provision, to reduce substance abuse and its negative effects.4 Nonetheless, these programs face challenges, including a lack of infrastructure and skilled workers.5
Worldwide, community health workers play a critical role in the delivery of essential health services to underserved populations.6–10 In Vietnam, commune health centers (CHCs) are the first tier of health care at the local level.11,12 Commune health workers (CHWs) provide community PWID with routine preventive and treatment services.13 Because they have established, trusting relationships with PWID, CHWs have great potential to be mobilized to implement HIV prevention and harm-reduction programs at the commune level.13 The Vietnamese government is currently decentralizing methadone maintenance therapy, needle and syringe provision, HIV testing, and antiretroviral therapy services to CHCs.2,14 However, CHWs face significant barriers, including a lack of training in addiction and HIV-related areas and weak technical skills, such as effective counseling, to interact with PWID.4,12