Background/Purpose Quality of life (QoL) is found to be lower in heroin addicts; however, few studies examine detailed QoL performance and related factors in heroin patients attending a methadone maintenance treatment program (MMTP). The study thus aimed to explore QoL and its determinants for publicly-funded and self-paid patients attending an MMTP. Methods Participants were recruited in Jianan Psychiatric Center, Tainan, Taiwan, during their first clinic visit for the MMTP. Age-, sex-, education-, and municipality-matched referents were collected from the 2001 Taiwan National Health Interview Survey database. The participants had a mean age of 38.29 years [standard deviation (SD) = 7.65 years] for publicly-funded (n = 129) and 37.97 years (SD = 7.16 years) for self-paid (n = 105) MMTP patients. Matched referents (n = 217) were 37.74 years (SD = 7.44 years). All participants were measured with the brief version of the World Health Organization's Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) assessment. MMTP patients additionally went through tests for the hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Results Both publicly-funded and self-paid MMTP patients had lower QoL scores than their matched counterparts in the physical and psychological domains (p < 0.05) after control for confounding by age, sex, education, and municipality. Detailed individual item analyses showed that publicly-funded MMTP patients had lower scores for almost all items related to the physical, psychological, and social domains as compared to the referents because of HIV infection (p < 0.05). Conclusion To improve the QoL of heroin users coming for MMTP, we recommend that clinicians pay attention to the comorbidity of HIV infection and individual items/facets.
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