Provision of integrated care for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infected tuberculosis (TB) patients is challenging. Many persons with TB and HIV co-infection are not yet receiving anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and initiation of ART is not always timely. This study investigated ART uptake among HIV co-infected TB patients and its time of initiation in an urban primary health care facility in Ethiopia. A retrospective cohort study was conducted using routine program data. All adult HIV co-infected TB patients registered in a large TB-HIV clinic in Addis Ababa from September, 2008 to August, 2014 were included. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to summarize and analyse findings. A total of 993 TB patients were registered in the study period and included. HIV counselling and testing was offered to 738 (74.5%) and HIV testing was performed for 678 (68.3%) patients. Of those tested, 226 (33.3%) were HIV co-infected of whom 125 (57.6%) were started on ART. The median period from commencement of TB treatment to starting of ART was 41 days. ART initiation was delayed beyond the period advised in the National TB-HIV Guideline for 31 (27%) of HIV co-infected TB patients. For 109 (48.2%) of co-infected TB patients the ART status evaluation could not be done due to missing data. A considerable proportion of HIV co-infected TB patients did either not receive ART or started it later than recommended by national guidelines. For better outcomes to HIV co-infected TB patients, the actual implementation of national recommendations on when to start ART needs to be monitored closely.
Key words: ART-uptake delay, TB-HIV, primary health facility.
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