Project Axshya equips HIV treatment centres with tools and training for rapid TB diagnoses

The Union’s project Axshya, through implementation partner REACH, facilitates the collection and transportation of sputum samples from HIV centres to sites equipped with Xpert MTB/RIF machines within the state of Tamil Nadu to provide rapid and accurate TB diagnoses to people living with HIV. Project staff has trained community volunteers based in each centre to screen patients for TB and collect samples for testing when necessary.

Between October 2015 and December 2017, nearly 4,000 patients were tested for TB, of whom 285 were found to have active TB. Nine patients were diagnosed with a drug-resistant form of the disease. All patients were then connected to TB care centres for treatment.

The intervention has proved effective for early diagnosis of TB within this high-risk population. TB is the most common opportunistic infection among people with HIV.

The World Health Organization recommends HIV patients be screened regularly for TB and tested when necessary but one of the main challenges in implementing this recommendation is the lack of proper tools in the treatment centres where patients receive care. By facilitating these screening and testing measures in more HIV centres, patients now have better access to the tools that aid in early diagnosis and significantly improve treatment outcomes.

Project Axshya is implemented by The Union and seven civil society partners with support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Project Axshya facilitates testing of people living with HIV in the states of Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.