Open Access Research article

HIV and hepatitis C virus test uptake at methadone clinics in Southern China: opportunities for expanding detection of bloodborne infections

Ying-Hua Xia12, Wen Chen12, Joseph D Tucker23, Charles Wang34 and Li Ling12*

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, No. 74, Zhongshan Road II, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou 510080, P.R. China

2 Sun Yat-sen Center for Migrant Health Policy, Sun Yat-sen University, No. 74, Zhongshan Road II, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou 510080, P.R. China

3 UNC Project-China, Guangdong STD Control Center, Guangzhou 510095, P.R. China

4 Division of Gastroenterology, Rhode Island Hospital / Alpert Medical School of Brown University, 593 Eddy Street, APC 414, Providence, RI 02903, USA

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:899  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-899

Published: 30 September 2013



HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection is highly common among Chinese injection drug users but it is difficult to reach IDUs at traditional VCT (Voluntary HIV counseling treatment) clinics. A new national model integrating HIV/HCV testing with methadone maintenance treatment was started in 2006. The purpose of this study was to investigate HIV and HCV test uptake and associated factors at methadone clinics in Guangdong Province, China.


A cross-sectional design using routine surveillance data and laboratory testing confirmation was applied to determine rates of HIV and HCV test uptake. Multi-level modeling was used to examine individual-level and clinic-level correlates of increased test uptake.


45 out of 49 methadone clinics in Guangdong Province agreed to participate in the study. Among all 13,270 individuals, 10,046 (75.7%) had HIV test uptake and 10,404 (78.4%) had HCV uptake. At the individual level, methadone clients 30 years or older were more likely to have HIV and HCV test uptake (p <0.001 for both). At the clinic level, methadone clinics with greater health care personnel were more likely to have HIV (p =0.01) and HCV (p = 0.044) test uptake. HIV test uptake significantly correlated with HCV test uptake (correlation coefficient=0.64).


Methadone clinics provide an opportunity for routine integrated HIV and HCV screening among drug users in China. Increased test uptake in young drug users and increased health care personnel at clinics may further improve screening.

Bloodborne infections; Testing uptake; Methadone maintenance treatment clinic