Indian State Launches HIV/TB Testing ProgramThe Hindu on Thursday examined a cross-referral program for HIV and TB testing launched in January in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Under the program, all people who test positive for one of the diseases are tested for the other if they give their consent. Health workers accompany people to be tested.
About 37,000 people were referred from voluntary HIV counseling and testing centers to TB testing centers last year, compared with 19,000 in 2006. Of the approximately 37,000 people tested, 13,200 were HIV-positive, and almost 1,600 HIV-positive people were also found to have TB. The remaining 23,700 referred to TB testing centers tested HIV-negative but had TB.
According to Supriya Sahu, project director of the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society, almost 90% of people found to have TB are placed on the DOTS program. About 80,000 people contract TB annually in Tamil Nadu, and 25,000 TB patients were referred to HIV testing centers last year in the state.
Sahu said the next big challenge will be to make HIV and TB testing available in the same facility. "It will be prudent to test for HIV if found positive for TB and vice versa under one roof," she said, adding, "We are working towards such integration." There are about 760 HIV voluntary testing and counseling centers, and 30 TB testing centers in the state. According to Sahu, 15 to 20 centers currently provide both tests (Prasad, The Hindu, 5/22). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.