Leveraging rapid community-based HIV testing campaigns for non-communicable diseases in rural Uganda

PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43400. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043400. Epub 2012 Aug 20.


Background: The high burden of undiagnosed HIV in sub-Saharan Africa limits treatment and prevention efforts. Community-based HIV testing campaigns can address this challenge and provide an untapped opportunity to identify non-communicable diseases (NCDs). We tested the feasibility and diagnostic yield of integrating NCD and communicable diseases into a rapid HIV testing and referral campaign for all residents of a rural Ugandan parish.

Methods: A five-day, multi-disease campaign, offering diagnostic, preventive, treatment and referral services, was performed in May 2011. Services included point-of-care screening for HIV, malaria, TB, hypertension and diabetes. Finger-prick diagnostics eliminated the need for phlebotomy. HIV-infected adults met clinic staff and peer counselors on-site; those with CD4 ≤ 100/µL underwent intensive counseling and rapid referral for antiretroviral therapy (ART). Community participation, case-finding yield, and linkage to care three months post-campaign were analyzed.

Results: Of 6,300 residents, 2,323/3,150 (74%) adults and 2,020/3,150 (69%) children participated. An estimated 95% and 52% of adult female and male residents participated respectively. Adult HIV prevalence was 7.8%, with 46% of HIV-infected adults newly diagnosed. Thirty-nine percent of new HIV diagnoses linked to care. In a pilot subgroup with CD4 ≤ 100, 83% linked and started ART within 10 days. Malaria was identified in 10% of children, and hypertension and diabetes in 28% and 3.5% of adults screened, respectively. Sixty-five percent of hypertensives and 23% of diabetics were new diagnoses, of which 43% and 61% linked to care, respectively. Screening identified suspected TB in 87% of HIV-infected and 19% of HIV-uninfected adults; 52% percent of HIV-uninfected TB suspects linked to care.

Conclusions: In an integrated campaign engaging 74% of adult residents, we identified a high burden of undiagnosed HIV, hypertension and diabetes. Improving male attendance and optimizing linkage to care require new approaches. The campaign demonstrates the feasibility of integrating hypertension, diabetes and communicable diseases into HIV initiatives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Malaria / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology
  • Uganda / epidemiology
  • Young Adult