Assessing the effect of TB-HIV collaborative activities on knowledge and perception of TB patients - A cross sectional study in Garhwal region, Uttarakhand, India
Abstract: Introduction: The burden of TB is so closely linked to the HIV epidemic that prevention of HIV must become a priority for TB programmes, just as TB care and prevention should be a major concern of HIV/AIDS programmes. Provider initiated HIV testing and counseling (PITC) among TB patients along with provision of HIV prevention education for patients with presumptive or diagnosed TB cases have been listed as important activities, amongst others, to be undertaken to reduce burden of HIV among TB patients under National Framework for Joint HIV/TB Collaborative Activities. The present study tries to assess the effect of these activities on the knowledge of patients registered under RNTCP, regarding TB and HIV.
Methodology: The study was conducted among 346 patients registered under RNTCP at selected District Microscopy centres (DMCs) in four out of seven randomly districts of Garhwal region of Uttrarakhand. Information related to socio-demographic profile of the patient, their health variables, knowledge about TB-HIV co-infection and knowledge about access points for care of TB-HIV co-infection was obtained by the field investigator.
Results: While knowledge about preventing transmission of TB by use of a handkerchief was good (97-98%), knowledge regarding proper disposal of sputum was inadequate (11-12%). Knowledge about various aspects of HIV, the deadly accompaniment to TB, was dismal.
Conclusion: This research was a health system research which elicited the importance of giving due emphasis on enhancing the knowledge of the patients who are suffering from tuberculosis and are at a high risk of contracting HIV. The research highlights the fact that the patients were left un-informed and un-educated even after having an interaction with the health care workers at two different places i.e. DMC/DOTS centres and ICTC both. It therefore highlights the failure of health system on two crucial occasions, which requires to be corrected as soon as possible so as to enable patients to undertake active steps for early diagnosis of HIV and prompt treatment as well as to prevent the disease. Simple information sharing by the health care worker will have multitudinous effects.