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American Public Health Association, Atlanta, GA, October 2001

Hirsch-Moverman Y, Colson P, Thomas G, Medard F, El-Sadr W. Characteristics of HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients undergoing treatment for tuberculosis (TB) in Harlem, NY.

Background: Co-infection with HIV is a major issue in the management of TB disease. However, the characteristics and needs of HIV+ patients have not been well defined in contrast to HIV- patients undergoing treatment for TB.

Methods: We assessed patients' demographic, substance use, and TB and HIV knowledge & attitudes in a study of adherence to TB treatment in Harlem.

Results: Of 127 patients with HIV status known at baseline, about 94% were African-American or Latino, mean age 42, and 64% male.

 
HIV(+)
(n=47)
HIV(-)
(n=80)
P-value
Married (%)
8.5
18.8
0.132
Completed high school (%)
54.3
52.6
1.000
Employed (%)
2.1
20.0
0.005
Foreign-born (%)
8.5
41.3
<0.001
Ever homeless (%)
61.7
37.5
0.010
Homeless in past year (%)
34.0
22.5
0.028
Current drug use (%)
51.1
26.3
0.007
Current alcohol use (%)
36.2
37.5
1.000
Current drug program participation (%)
34.0
6.3
<0.001
Current alcohol program participation (%)
4.3
3.8
0.804
TB knowledge score (out of 24 points)
16.0
14.9
0.079
HIV knowledge score (out of 12 points)
9.0
8.0
0.002

Conclusions: The HIV- patients are more likely to be employed and foreign-born. HIV+ patients have many barriers to completion of therapy: they are more likely to have a history of homelessness, and report current drug use. However, their knowledge level of TB and HIV is slightly better than the HIV- patients. Programs to promote completion of TB treatment for these two populations must assess patients' needs and develop appropriate interventions.