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Free Content Tuberculosis and HIV interaction in sub-Saharan Africa: impact on patients and programmes; implications for policies

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Sub-Saharan Africa carries the overwhelming share of the global burden of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and of HIV-associated tuberculosis (TB). The impact of HIV on TB patients and programmes has implications for TB control policies. The impact on patients includes the effect of HIV on diagnosis and on the patterns of HIV-related TB, the response of HIV-infected TB patients to TB treatment, the benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and the quality and continuity of care for TB patients. The impact on national TB programmes (NTPs) includes increased case load, impaired NTP performance, increased need for access to ART and difficulties in reaching TB control targets. Implications for policies include the need to promote TB and HIV/AIDS programme collaboration, aimed at improving NTP performance (TB case-finding and treatment outcomes), quality and continuity of care, and monitoring and interpretation of progress towards TB control targets. In order to provide the recommended international standard of care for TB patients, clinicians need to be aware of the impact of HIV on TB patients and programmes and the implications for the policies that provide the framework for this standard. Conversely, policy-makers need to understand the impact of HIV on TB patients and programmes. This can help to ensure a firm evidence base for TB control policies aiming at the high standard of patient care that is at the heart of TB and HIV programmes.

Keywords: Africa; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; human immunodeficiency virus; policies; programmes; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Stop TB, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland 2: Ministry of Health, Lilongwe, Malawi

Publication date: 2005-08-01

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