TB Diagnostic Capacity in Sub-Saharan African HIV Care Settings
As HIV care services continue to scale-up in sub-Saharan Africa, adequate tuberculosis diagnostic capacity is vital to reduce mortality among HIV-infected persons. A structured survey was administered at 663 health facilities providing HIV care to 908,043 patients in across 9 sub-Saharan African countries to estimate the proportion of facilities and HIV patients at these facilities with access TB-related diagnostic tests. Sputum smear microscopy was available at 87% of facilities (representing 97% of patients), chest x-ray at 26% of facilities (representing 56% of patients), tuberculin skin tests were available at 12% of facilities (representing 33% of patients). Acid-fast bacillus culture was available on-/off-site at 53% of facilities (representing 77% of patients). Primary health facilities had lower availability of tuberculosis diagnostic tests compared with secondary and tertiary health facilities. As HIV care continues to decentralize to primary health facilities, a corresponding expansion of diagnostic capacity to lower levels of the health system will be essential.