The Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) will launch under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) of the Central Government a fresh initiative to detect tuberculosis and HIV cases in Coimbatore district.

The Government health centres will be sensitised to look for such cases even among patients who had come in with non-TB or non-HIV complaints.

Symptoms

Under ‘Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling’ scheme, any patient showing symptoms such as respiratory problems, frequent coughing, blood in sputum, chest pain and high fever would be tested for both TB and HIV, free of cost, as they were interlinked, District Programme Manager (District AIDS Prevention Control Unit) B. Mohamed Ali told The Hindu here on Friday.

Explaining the initiative, he said that even if a patient gets admitted with a broken limb at a government facility, be it a primary health centre or a Government Hospital, and showed these symptoms, the medical officer would immediately refer the patient for further testing. Coimbatore district had a total of 40 designated centres where sputum testing was done.

While TB patients had a 5 per cent chance of getting infected with HIV, he said that HIV patients had an 80 per cent chance of acquiring TB. Further, one out of every four TB deaths was due to AIDS. Both these diseases weakened the immune system of patients thereby rendering them prone to other diseases also.

A HIV-TB Coordination Committee chaired by the District Collector met every three months to review the effectiveness of the control strategies.

It would also analyse the efficacy of these measures in reducing the mortality rate.

Study

“A joint study by TANSACS and RNTCP is under way in Coimbatore district to determine the co-infections rates. The main objective is to reduce morality and ensure the patient gets treatment at an early stage,” said Dr. Mohamed Ali.