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Free Content Isoniazid preventive therapy for people living with HIV: public health challenges and implementation issues [Unresolved issues]

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Abstract:

Isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) is recognised as an important component of collaborative tuberculosis (TB) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activities to reduce the burden of TB in people living with HIV (PLHIV). However, there has been little in the way of IPT implementation at country level. This failure has resulted in a recent call to arms under the banner title of the ‘Three I's’ (infection control to prevent nosocomial transmission of TB in health care settings, intensified TB case finding and IPT). In this paper, we review the background of IPT. We then discuss the important challenges of IPT in PLHIV, namely responsibility and accountability for the implementation, identification of latent TB infection, exclusion of active TB and prevention of isoniazid resistance, length of treatment and duration of protective efficacy. We also highlight several research questions that currently remain unanswered. We finally offer practical suggestions about how to scale up IPT in the field, including the need to integrate IPT into a package of care for PLHIV, the setting up of operational projects with the philosophy of ‘learning while doing’, the development of flow charts for eligibility for IPT, the development and implementation of care prior to antiretroviral treatment, and finally issues around procurement, distribution, monitoring and evaluation. We support the implementation of IPT, but only if it is done in a safe and structured way. There is a definite risk that ‘sloppy’ IPT will be inefficient and, worse, could lead to the development of multidrug-resistant TB, and this must be avoided at all costs.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; drug resistance; isoniazid preventive therapy; tuberculosis

Document Type: Invited Paper

Affiliations: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France

Publication date: 2009-08-01

More about this publication?
  • 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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