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Knowledge And Attitudes Among Health Care Workers In A Treatment Program For Latent TB Infection
2001 International Conference of the American Thoracic Society, San Francisco, CA. May 2001.

Colson P, Talavera J, Sanyal D, Torres M, Coley J, Gwynn RC, El-Sadr W. Knowledge And Attitudes Among Health Care Workers In A Treatment Program For Latent TB Infection.

Rationale: Treatment (tx) for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is a priority among health care workers (HCWs). However, little is known about factors associated with tx initiation and completion, such as knowledge and attitudes (K & A).

Methods: Participants (pts) were 217 HCWs at Harlem Hospital who were eligible for LTBI tx in the Hospital's Employee Fast Track (EFT) Program. A questionnaire on TB K & A was completed by 153 pts at baseline. The impact of K & A and demographic characteristics were examined in those initiating and completing tx.

Results: Pts were 61% male, 75% African-American, 6% Latino, and 12% Asian. Median age was 34, 72% were foreign-born, and 54% were recent TST converters. Many held misconceptions about TB, including transmission through shared dishes (39%) and from strangers rather than family members (22%). Approx. 15% did not know the length of LTBI tx or the increased risk faced by HIV+ people. Superior knowledge scores were found in MDs and RNs (p<.001), foreign-born pts (p=.017), recent converters (p=.034), and younger pts (p=.011). The majority held positive attitudes toward LTBI tx, including believing tx is important (80%) and being able to avoid TB disease (78%). Non-initiators were more likely to be nurses (p=.003) and to believe they were not infected (p=.007). While no factors predicted tx completion, non-completers were more likely to feel that taking medicines (p=.079) and keeping appointments (p=.054) were a problem.

Conclusions: This preliminary analysis is limited by the small proportions of non-initiators (14%) and non-completers (8%). While further analysis is needed, it suggests that certain beliefs may have an impact in supporting or discouraging tx.