Background: Guidelines exist for screening, diagnosing, and preventing tuberculosis (TB) among HIV-infected persons, but their application and utility are unknown.
Methods: We conducted a survey of knowledge and practices among 1,300 physicians in the San Francisco Bay area to assess their practices towards TB among HIV-infected persons.
Results: Of 630 respondents, 350 (56%) provided care for HIV-infected persons. Thirty-four percent of the respondents had seen the most recent guidelines for preventing tuberculosis among HIV-infected persons; 65% routinely provide information to HIV-infected patients about the risks of exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis; 39% provide annual tuberculin skin testing (TST) to HIV-infected patients without a history of a positive test; 86% knew that >/=5-mm induration is considered a positive TST result in HIV-infected persons; and 47% provide a 12-month regimen of chemoprophylaxis for HIV-infected persons who have a positive TST but not active tuberculosis. Physician specialty and experience with HIV-infected persons were not strongly correlated; experience was a better predictor of correct knowledge and practices.
Conclusions: Many physicians were not aware of the standards of care for preventing tuberculosis among HIV-infected patients, even in a geographic area with a high prevalence of M. tuberculosis and HIV.
Copyright 1999 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.