(Beitrag vom 10. Juni 1993 zu den Conference-News auf dem 9. Internationalen AIDS-Kongress in Berlin)

Another success story on the use of Methadone for the treatment of injection drug users was presented by Dr. Jörg Gölz from Berlin on Tuesday. „Good social rehabilitation“ was achieved in 63 percent of 647 persons after a two-year treatment period, Golz reported. No change was seen in 13 percent, while one out of 12 patients died of AIDS or other diseases, from suicide, or in the course of an accident.

The surprise finding of the study was that none of the 329 HIV-negative IV drug users that received treatment in Berlin contracted HIV during the course of the study. Statistical data on HIV-negative intravenous drug users in Germany had suggested that more than ten percent of them should seroconvert within a two-year period if left untreated. „Methadone treatment is an appropriate method for Aids-prevention,“ Gölz concluded.

The study also confirmed the finding that intravenous drug users already infected with HIV show a rise in CD4 cells, especially when substitution starts at a CD4 count of greater than 350. In view of these findings, substitution should no longer be considered a second line of therapy in Germany, Gölz demanded.

The report will receive particular attention in the light of 150,000 injection drug users in Germany. Only 1000 or 0,7 percent of them are treated successfully at the 3000 places available for long-term-therapy in the country. The overwhelming majority – 147,000 out of 150,000 – go untreated.