Correlates of Delayed Diagnosis among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Pulmonary Tuberculosis Suspects in a Rural HIV Clinic, South Africa


Boniface R, Moshabela M, Zulliger R, MacPherson P, Nyasulu P.


Background. Delay in pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) diagnosis is one of the major factors that affect outcome and threatens continued spread of tuberculosis. This study aimed at determining factors associated with delayed PTB diagnosis among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals. Methods. A retrospective observational study was done using clinic records of HIV-infected PTB suspects attending an HIV/AIDS clinic at Tintswalo rural hospital in South Africa (SA) between January 2006 and December 2007. Using routine clinic registers, 480 records were identified. Results. PTB diagnosis delay was found among 77/176 (43.8%) of the patients diagnosed with PTB. The mean delay of PTB diagnosis was 170.6 days; diagnosis delay ranged 1-30 days in 27 (35.1%) patients, 31-180 days in 24 (33.8%) patients; 24 (31.2%) patients remained undiagnosed for ≥180 days. Independent factors associated with delayed diagnosis were: older age >40 years (Odds Ratio (OR) 3.43, 95% CI 1.45-8.08) and virological failure (OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.09-6.74). Conclusion. There is a considerable delayed PTB diagnosis among HIV-infected patients in rural SA. Older patients as well as patients with high viral load are at a higher risk of PTB diagnosis delay. Therefore efforts to reduce PTB diagnosis delay need to emphasised.


Tuberculosis Research & Treatment