Ryan Schwarz

Date of Award

January 2011

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Rick Altice

Subject Area(s)

Medicine, Health care management


Background: Buprenorphine's availability in primary care settings offers increased access to treatment and linkage to primary care for opioid-dependent patients. Currently, tuberculin skin testing (TST) is recommended for patients enrolling in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT), but not for those enrolling in buprenorphine maintenance treatment (BMT).

Objectives: To compare TST screening results in enrollees in BMT and MMT programs and assess the correlates of TST positivity among these subjects.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of a retrospective cohort study was conducted to compare concurrent TST results among contemporaneously matched groups of MMT and BMT patients in the same community.

Results: TST positivity was 9% in both MMT and BMT settings (p = .27). Increased TST positivity was associated with being Black (AOR = 3.53, CI = 1.28-9.77), Hispanic (AOR = 3.11, CI = 1.12-8.60), and having higher education (AOR= 3.01, CI = 1.20-7.53).

Conclusions: These results confirm a similarly high prevalence of TST positivity in opioid-dependent patients enrolling in MMT and BMT programs. Racial and ethnic health disparities remain associated with TST positivity, yet a relationship between higher education and tuberculosis requires further investigation.

Scientific significance: These data suggest the importance of incorporating TST screening in emerging BMT programs as a mechanism to provide increased detection and treatment of tuberculosis infection in opioid-dependent patient populations.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access