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Will Adoption of the 2010 WHO ART Guidelines for HIV-Infected TB Patients Increase the Demand for ART Services in India?
Published: Thursday, September 08, 2011
Author: Ajay M. V. Kumar et al.

by Ajay M. V. Kumar, Devesh Gupta, B. B. Rewari, Damodar Bachani, Suresh Mohammed, Vartika Sharma, Kumaraswamy Lal, H. R. Raveendra Reddy, Balaji Naik, Rita Prasad, Mohammed Yaqoob, K. G. Deepak, Suresh Shastri, Srinath Satyanarayana, Anthony David Harries, Lakhbir Singh Chauhan, Puneet Dewan

Background

In 2010, WHO expanded previously-recommended indications for anti-retroviral treatment to include all HIV-infected TB patients irrespective of CD4 count. India, however, still limits ART to those TB patients with CD4 counts <350/mm3 or with extrapulmonary TB manifestations. We sought to evaluate the additional number of patients that would be initiated on ART if India adopted the current 2010 WHO ART guidelines for HIV-infected TB patients.

Methods

We evaluated all TB patients recorded in treatment registers of the Revised National TB Control Programme in June 2010 in the high-HIV prevalence state of Karnataka, and cross-matched HIV-infected TB patients with ART programme records.

Results

Of 6182 TB patients registered, HIV status was ascertained for 5761(93%) and 710(12%) were HIV-infected. 146(21%) HIV-infected TB patients were on ART prior to TB diagnosis. Of the remaining 564, 497(88%) were assessed for ART eligibility; of these, 436(88%) were eligible for ART according to 2006 WHO ART guidelines. Altogether, 487(69%) HIV-infected TB patients received ART during TB treatment. About 80% started ART within 8 weeks of TB treatment and 95% received an efavirenz based regimen.

Conclusion

In Karnataka, India, about nine out of ten HIV-infected TB patients were eligible for ART according to 2006 WHO ART guidelines. The efficiency of HIV case finding, ART evaluation, and ART initiation was relatively high, with 78% of eligible HIV-infected patients actually initiated on ART, and 80% within 8 weeks of diagnosis. ART could be extended to all HIV-infected TB patients irrespective of CD4 count with relatively little additional burden on the national ART programme.

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