High uptake of antiretroviral therapy among HIV-positive TB patients receiving co-located services in Swaziland
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High uptake of antiretroviral therapy among HIV-positive TB patients receiving co-located services in Swaziland

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      PLoS One
    • Description:

      Swaziland has the highest adult HIV prevalence and second highest rate of TB/HIV coinfection globally. Recently, the Ministry of Health and partners have increased integration and co-location of TB/HIV services, but the timing of antiretroviral therapy (ART) relative to TB treatment—a marker of program quality and predictor of outcomes—is unknown.


      We conducted a retrospective analysis of programmatic data from 11 purposefully-sampled facilities to evaluate timely ART provision for HIV-positive TB patients enrolled on TB treatment between July-November 2014. Timely ART was defined as within two weeks of TB treatment initiation for patients with CD4<50/μL or missing, and within eight weeks otherwise. Descriptive statistics were estimated and logistic regression used to assess factors independently associated with timely ART.


      Of 466 HIV-positive TB patients, 51.5% were male, median age was 35 (interquartile range [IQR]: 29–42), and median CD4 was 137/μL (IQR: 58–268). 189 (40.6%) were on ART prior to, and five (1.8%) did not receive ART within six months of TB treatment initiation. Median time to ART after TB treatment initiation was 15 days (IQR: 14–28). Almost 90% started ART within eight weeks, and 45.5% of those with CD4<50/μL started within two weeks. Using thresholds for “timely ART” according to baseline CD4 count, 73.3% of patients overall received timely ART after TB treatment initiation. Patients with CD4 50-200/μL or ≥200/μL had significantly higher odds of timely ART than patients with CD4<50/μL, with adjusted odds ratios of 11.5 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.0–26.6) and 9.6 (95% CI: 4.6–19.9), respectively. TB cure or treatment completion was achieved by 71.1% of patients at six months, but this was not associated with timely ART.


      This study demonstrates the relative success of integrated and co-located TB/HIV services in Swaziland, and shows that timely ART uptake for HIV-positive TB patients can be achieved in resource-limited, but integrated settings. Gaps remain in getting patients with CD4<50/μL to receive ART within the recommended two weeks post TB treatment initiation.

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