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Bull World Health Organ. 2002; 80(12): 939–945.
Published online Jan 23, 2003.
PMCID: PMC2567701

How human immunodeficiency virus voluntary testing can contribute to tuberculosis control.

Abstract

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is fueling the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. However, despite their close epidemiological links, the public health responses have largely been separate. WHO has set out a strategy to decrease the burden of HIV-related TB, comprising interventions against both TB and HIV. Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for HIV can link TB and HIV programme activities. The benefits of VCT for HIV to TB patients include referral for appropriate clinical care and support for those testing HIV-positive. Likewise, people attending a centre for VCT can benefit from TB screening: those found to be both HIV-positive and with active TB need referral for TB treatment; those without active TB should be offered TB preventive treatment with isoniazid. To explore how VCT for HIV can contribute to a more coherent response to TB, WHO is coordinating the ProTEST Initiative. The name "ProTEST" is derived from the Promotion of voluntary testing as an entry point for access to the core interventions of intensified TB case-finding and isoniazid preventive treatment. Other interventions may be added to provide finally a comprehensive range of HIV and TB prevention and care interventions. Under the ProTEST Initiative, pilot districts are establishing links between centres for VCT for HIV and TB prevention and care. This will pave the way for large-scale operationalization of the comprehensive range of interventions needed to control TB in settings with high HIV prevalence.

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