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The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-018-3088-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of mortality among people living with HIV (PLHIV), despite the availability of effective preventive therapy. The TEKO trial is assessing the impact of using a blood test, Quantiferon-TB Gold In-Tube Test (QGIT), to screen for latent TB compared to the Tuberculin Screening Test (TST) among PLHIV in South Africa.
Fifty-six qualitative interviews were conducted with PLHIV and clinical providers participating in the TEKO trial. We explored TB screening, diagnosis, and treatment guidelines and processes and the use of the QGIT to screen for latent TB infection at the time of CD4 blood draw. Thematic content analysis was conducted.
Considerable variability in TB screening procedures was documented due to lack of personnel and clarity regarding current national TB guidelines for PLHIV. Few clinics had started using the TST per national guidelines and many patients had never heard of isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT). Nearly all participants supported the idea of latent TB screening using routine blood drawn for CD4 counts.
Findings indicate that screening for latent TB infection using QGIT from blood drawn for CD4 counts among PLHIV is an acceptable approach to increase latent TB detection given the challenges associated with ensuring systematic latent TB screening in overburdened public clinics.
The results presented here were from formative research related to the TEKO trial (Identifier NCT02119130, registered 10 April 2014).