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Open Access Cost of point-of-care lateral flow urine lipoarabinomannan antigen testing in HIV-positive adults in South Africa

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INTRODUCTION: The World Health Organization recommends point-of-care (POC) lateral flow urine lipoarabinomannan (LF-LAM) for tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis in selected human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive people. South Africa had 438 000 new TB episodes in 2016, 58.9% of which were contributed by HIV-positive people. LF-LAM is being considered for scale-up in South Africa.

METHODS: We estimated the costs of using LF-LAM in HIV-positive adults with CD4 counts  150 cells/μl enrolled in the TB Fast Track Trial in South Africa. We also estimated costs of POC haemoglobin (Hb), as this was used in the study algorithm. Data on clinic-level (10 intervention clinics) and above-clinic-level costs were collected.

RESULTS: A total of 1307 LF-LAM tests were performed at 10 clinics over 24 months. The mean clinic-level costs were US$12.80 per patient for LF-LAM and POC Hb; LF-LAM costs were US$11.49 per patient. The mean above-clinic-level unit costs for LF-LAM were US$12.06 for clinic preparation, training, coordination and mentoring. The mean total cost of LF-LAM was US$23.55 per patient.

CONCLUSION: At clinic level, the cost of LF-LAM was comparable to other TB diagnostics in South Africa. It is important to consider above-clinic-level costs for POC tests, as these may be required to support roll-out and ensure successful implementation.
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Keywords: South Africa; coinfection; diagnostic tests; point-of-care systems; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Aurum Institute, Johannesburg 2: Aurum Institute, Johannesburg, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa 3: TB Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK 4: School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, TB Centre, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK, Africa Health Research Institute, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Publication date: 01 September 2018

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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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