Free Content Early lessons from the integration of tuberculosis and HIV services in primary care centers in Lusaka, Zambia

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Zambia faces overlapping tuberculosis (TB) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemics; however, care for co-infected patients often occurs through separate, vertical programs.

OBJECTIVE: To establish a program to integrate TB and HIV services in Lusaka primary care centers.

METHODS: In collaboration with the Zambian Ministry of Health, TB-HIV integration activities began in December 2005 and were expanded to seven health centers by March 2007. Principal activities included developing staff capacity to manage co-infected patients, implementing HIV testing within TB departments and establishing referral systems between departments.

RESULTS: Using a provider-initiated approach, 2053 TB patients were offered HIV testing. Seventy-seven per cent agreed to be tested; 69% of those tested were HIV-infected. Of these, 59% were enrolled in HIV care. The proportion of antiretroviral treatment (ART) program enrollees who were TB-HIV co-infected increased by 38% after program implementation. The median CD4 count among co-infected patients was 161 cells/μl, with 88% eligible for ART.

CONCLUSION: Integration of HIV testing and referral services into urban primary care centers identified many co-infected patients and significantly increased the proportion of TB patients among people accessing HIV care. Ongoing challenges include maximizing the number of patients accepting HIV testing and overcoming barriers to enrollment into HIV care.

Keywords: TB-HIV integration; Zambia; diagnostic counseling and testing

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia; Schools of Medicine and Public Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, USA 2: Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia 3: Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia; and Schools of Medicine and Public Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, USA 4: Lusaka District Health Management Team, Lusaka, Zambia 5: Schools of Medicine and Public Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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