Background: Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among people living with HIV (PLHIV) in sub-Saharan Africa. Early TB detection and treatment is key to saving lives of PLHIV. Rwanda began implementing intensified TB case finding (ICF) in 2005 in line with World Health Organization policy on TB/HIV collaborative activities. We aimed to describe trends of ICF in PLHIV newly enrolled into HIV clinics.
Methods: We used routinely collected program data on ICF from facility-based pre-antiretroviral therapy/antiretroviral therapy registers in Rwandan HIV clinics from 2006 to 2011. Semiannual, active data collection for PLHIV newly enrolled into HIV care included proportion screened for TB, proportion screened positive, and percentage with active TB and started anti-TB drugs.
Results: The number of health facilities reporting TB screening indicators increased 16-fold, from 20 facilities in the first semester of 2006 to 328 facilities by the end of 2011. The proportion of patients screened increased progressively from 77% of newly enrolled patients in first semester of 2006 to 94% at the end of 2011 (P < 0.001). The proportion of patients who screened positive decreased over time, from 23% in the first semester of 2006 to 10% at the end of 2011 (P < 0.001). The proportion of active TB cases remained relatively constant over time at 2.2%.
Conclusions: Rwanda has increased the proportion of newly enrolled PLHIV screened for TB using a simple screening protocol. Countries with limited resources but high HIV and TB disease prevalence should implement ICF as part of their integrated HIV–TB treatment programs.