Munyaradzi P. Mapingure, Jennifer M. Zech, Yael Hirsch-Moverman, Martin Msukwa, Andrea A. Howard, Tatenda Makoni, Clorata Gwanzura, Tsitsi Apollo, Charles Sandy, Godfrey N. Musuka, Miriam Rabkin
Tuberculosis (TB) causes one-third of HIV-related deaths worldwide, making TB preventive treatment (TPT) a critical element of HIV programmes. Approximately 16% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) on antiretrovirals in Zimbabwe are enrolled in the Fast Track (FT) differentiated service delivery model, which includes multi-month dispensing of antiretrovirals and quarterly health facility (HF) visits. We assessed the feasibility and acceptability of utilizing FT to deliver 3HP (3 months of once-weekly rifapentine and isoniazid) for TPT by aligning TPT and HIV visits, providing multi-month dispensing of 3HP, and using phone-based monitoring and adherence support.
We recruited a purposive sample of 50 PLHIV enrolled in FT at a high-volume HF in urban Zimbabwe. At enrolment, participants provided written informed consent, completed a baseline survey, and received counselling, education and a 3-month supply of 3HP. A study nurse mentor called participants at weeks 2, 4 and 8 to monitor and support adherence and side effects. When participants returned for their routine 3-month FT visit, they completed another survey, and study staff conducted a structured medical record review. In-depth interviews were conducted with providers who participated in the pilot.
Participants were enrolled between April and June 2021 and followed through September 2021. Median age = 32 years (IQR 24,41), 50% female, median time in FT 1.8 years (IQR 0.8,2.7). Forty-eight participants (96%) completed 3HP in 13 weeks; one completed in 16 weeks, and one stopped due to jaundice. Most participants (94%) reported “always” or “almost always” taking 3HP correctly. All reported they were very satisfied with the counselling, education, support and quality of care they received from providers and FT service efficiency. Almost all (98%) said they would recommend it to other PLHIV. Challenges reported included pill burden (12%) and tolerability (24%), but none had difficulty with phone-based counselling or wished for additional HF-based visits.
Using FT to deliver 3HP was feasible and acceptable. Some reported tolerability challenges but 98% completed 3HP, and all appreciated the efficiency of aligning TPT and HIV HF visits, multi-month dispensing and phone-based counselling.
Scaling up this approach could expand TPT coverage in Zimbabwe.