Background: Methadone maintenance treatment programs (MMTPs) are important public health intervention to control the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the drug use problems. For expanding treatment coverage, publicly funded programs may be necessary for heroin users with low socio-economic status. We evaluated the difference of demographics, clinical features, and quality of life (QoL) of heroin users enrolled in publicly funded and self-paid MMTP and explored determinants influencing their attendance rate, respectively, for these two groups. Methods: A total of 234 heroin users enrolled in MMTP (129 in publicly funded and 105 in self-paid) between 2006 and 2008 self-reported the Taiwan version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life Instrument, Brief Version (WHOQOL-BREF) at baseline. Data regarding demographic and clinical features were collected during baseline interview. Methadone per 3-month attendance rates up to 18 months were conducted for each participant beginning from the index date. Results: Self-paid group had a better QoL but lower treatment adherence than did the publicly funded group. Male and living alone were positive predictors on attendance rate for publicly funded group, and age of first heroin use and hepatitis C virus (HCV) seropositive were negative predictors. However, predictors on attendance rate for self-paid group were different from publicly funded group: HCV seropositive was a positive predictor and social QoL was a negative predictor. Conclusions: Findings of this study should be concerned with modifying original funding eligibility. Additional measures to explore what could impede treatment adherence are needed.
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