Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be the leading cause of death for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), and HIV is the strongest known risk factor for progression to active TB disease for persons with latent TB infection (LTBI). Screening for active TB and LTBI, and TB preventive therapy (TPT) is recommended, however, clinical practices regarding LTBI screening for HIV positive population have not been uniform, resulting in low rates of LTBI screening and TPT uptake, in both low and high TB-burden countries. We sought to explore the practices and attitudes towards TB and LTBI screening in PLHIV among HIV physicians in Japan.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey whereby an on-line questionnaire was administered to physicians who are currently, or have the experience of, providing care and treatment for PLHIV in Japan.
The questionnaire was sent to a total of 83 physicians, of which 59 responded (response rate; 71.1%). 52.5% (31/59) conducted routine screening and 44.0% (26/59) conducted selectively screening for active TB among HIV/AIDS patients. As for LTBI, 54.2% (32/59) conducted routine screening and 35.6% (21/59) conducted selective screening for LTBI among PLHIV. “T-SPOT only” was the most frequently used method of screening (n = 33), followed by “QFT only” (n = 11). Criteria for LTBI screening included TB burden in the country of birth of the patient, previous contact with a TB patient, and CD4+ cell count. 83.1% (49/59) either “always” or “selectively” offered TPT to PLHIV diagnosed with LTBI, and among the 49 respondents who did provide TPT, 77.6% (38/49) chose 9-months isoniazid as their first choice. None chose regimen including rifampicin.
Our study revealed that practices regarding TB and LTBI screening and treatment for PLHIV among HIV physicians were mixed and not necessarily in accordance with the various published guidelines. Building and disseminating scientific evidence that takes into consideration the local epidemiology of TB and HIV in Japan is urgently needed to assist physicians make decisions.

© 2022. The Author(s).