What Are the Reasons for Poor Uptake of HIV Testing among Patients with TB in an Eastern India District?
Published Date:Mar 01 2013
Source:PLoS One. 2013; 8(3).
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
Referral And Consultation
National policy in India recommends HIV testing of all patients with TB. In West Bengal state, only 28% of patients with TB were tested for HIV between April-June, 2010. We conducted a cross-sectional survey to understand patient, provider and health system related factors associated with low uptake of HIV testing among patients with TB.
We reviewed TB and HIV program records to assess the HIV testing status of patients registered for anti-TB treatment from July-September 2010 in South-24-Parganas district, West Bengal, assessed availability of HIV testing kits and interviewed a random sample of patients with TB and providers.
Among 1633 patients with TB with unknown HIV status at the time of diagnosis, 435 (26%) were tested for HIV within the intensive phase of TB treatment. Patients diagnosed with and treated for TB at facilities with co-located HIV testing services were more likely to get tested for HIV than at facilities without [RR = 1.27, (95% CI 1.20–3.35)]. Among 169 patients interviewed, 67 reported they were referred for HIV testing, among whom 47 were tested. During interviews, providers attributed the low proportion of patients with TB being referred and tested for HIV to inadequate knowledge among providers about the national policy, belief that patients will not test for HIV even if they are referred, shortage of HIV testing kits, and inadequate supervision by both programs.
In West Bengal, poor uptake of HIV testing among patients with TB was associated with absence of HIV testing services at sites providing TB care services and to poor referral practices among providers. Comprehensive strategies to change providers’ beliefs and practices, decentralization of HIV testing to all TB care centers, and improved HIV test kit supply chain management may increase the proportion of patients with TB who are tested for HIV.
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