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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2008 Mar;12(3 Suppl 1):26-31.

Cross-referral between voluntary HIV counselling and testing centres and TB services, Maharashtra, India, 2003-2004.

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Office of World Health Organization Representative to India, New Delhi, India.



India has a high tuberculosis (TB) burden, with 1.8 million new cases per year. Although an estimated 2.5 million people are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the national HIV prevalence is <1%. India's size and diverse TB-HIV epidemiology pose a major challenge to the implementation of links between TB and HIV/AIDS programme services.


A pilot cross-referral initiative was instituted between voluntary counselling and testing centres (VCT) and the diagnostic and treatment facilities of the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) in four districts of Maharashtra, India.


To detect TB disease among VCT patients and selectively screen TB patients for referral to VCT services.


Between July 2003 and June 2004, 336 (3%) of 9921 VCT patients were identified as TB suspects and 83 (29%) were diagnosed with TB disease. Of the 765 selectively referred TB cases, 181 (24%) were found to be HIV-positive, representing 11% of the newly detected persons living with HIV in the four districts.


The pilot cross-referral initiative yielded significant numbers of active TB cases among VCT patients and HIV-positive persons among TB patients. Collaborative activities between HIV/AIDS and TB programmes need to be rapidly scaled up to other states in India.

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