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Open Access Uptake of HIV testing and HIV positivity among presumptive tuberculosis patients at Puducherry, South India

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SETTING: Puducherry, a district in South India with a low prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection (<1% among antenatal women).

OBJECTIVES: 1) To estimate the proportion of patients with known HIV status who were HIV-positive, 2) to describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients with unknown HIV status among presumptive TB patients, and 3) to assess the additional workload at HIV testing centres.

DESIGN: In this cross-sectional study, consecutive presumptive TB patients attending microscopy centres for diagnosis during March–May 2013 were asked if they knew their HIV status. Patients with unknown HIV status were offered voluntary counselling and HIV testing.

RESULTS: Of 1886 presumptive TB patients, HIV status was ascertained for 842 (44.6%); 28 (3.3%) were HIV-positive. The uptake of HIV testing was significantly higher in younger age groups, males, residents of Puducherry and smear-positive TB patients. The median increase in the number of clients tested for HIV per day per testing centre was 1 (range 0–6).

CONCLUSION: The uptake of HIV testing was low. HIV prevalence was higher among presumptive TB patients than in antenatal women, and as high as in TB patients. With minimal increase in workload at HIV testing centres, HIV testing could be implemented using existing resources.
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Keywords: HIV prevalence; India; TB suspects; low HIV setting; operational research; presumptive TB

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India 2: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, South-East Asia Regional Office, New Delhi, India 3: State TB Cell, Directorate of Health Services, Puducherry, India 4: Desmond Tutu TB Centre, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa 5: Pondicherry State AIDS Control Society, Puducherry, India 6: Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India 7: World Health Organization Country Office in India, New Delhi, India 8: Department of Health and Family Welfare Services, Government of Puducherry, Puducherry, India

Publication date: September 21, 2013

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  • Public Health Action (PHA), The Union's quarterly open access on-line journal, provides a platform for its mission 'Health solutions for the poor'. PHA addresses the need for show-casing operational research that addresses issues in health systems and services. It publishes high-quality scientific research that provides new knowledge to improve access, equity, quality and efficiency of health systems and services.

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