Objectives: To describe the integration of tuberculosis screening into the activities of an HIV voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) centre in a country with endemic tuberculosis.
Setting: An HIV VCT centre in Port au Prince, Haiti. Design: All patients presenting for HIV VCT who reported cough received same-day evaluation for active tuberculosis. Of the 1327 adults presenting to the centre for the first time between January and April 1997, 263 (20%) reported cough and of these 241 (92%) were evaluated.
Results: Of the 241 patients evaluated for cough, 76 (32%) were diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. Of the 76 patients diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis, 28 (37%) had a positive smear for acid-fast bacilli (AFB), 14 (18%) had a negative AFB smear but a positive sputum culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and 34 (45%) had culture-negative tuberculosis. Also, 31 out of 241 (13%) VCT clients evaluated for cough were diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia.
Conclusion: This report confirms that in areas with a high HIV and tuberculosis prevalence, a high proportion of VCT clients have active pulmonary tuberculosis. The integration of tuberculosis screening offers several benefits, including the diagnosis and treatment of large numbers of individuals with tuberculosis, a decreased risk of nosocomial tuberculosis transmission, and the opportunity to provide tuberculosis prophylaxis to HIV-positive patients in whom tuberculosis has been excluded. Future studies are needed to determine the cost-effectiveness of integrated tuberculosis and HIV VCT services, and whether integration should be recommended in all countries with high HIV and tuberculosis rates.