Socioeconomic and Behavioral Factors Associated with Tuberculosis Diagnostic Delay in Lima, Peru

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2018 Jun;98(6):1614-1623. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.17-0096. Epub 2018 Apr 19.


Early detection and diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) is a global priority. Prolonged symptom duration before TB diagnosis is associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and risk of transmission. We aimed to determine socioeconomic and behavioral factors associated with diagnostic delays among patients with TB. Data were collected from 105 patients with TB using a semi-structured interview guide in Lima, Peru. Factors associated with diagnostic delay were analyzed using negative binomial regression. The median delay from when symptoms commenced and the first positive diagnostic sample in public health facilities was 57 days (interquartile range: 28-126). In multivariable analysis, greater diagnostic delay was independently associated with patient older age, female gender, lower personal income before diagnosis, living with fewer people, and having more visits to professional health facilities before diagnosis (all P < 0.05). Patients who first sought care at a private health facility had more visits overall to professional health facilities before diagnosis than those who first sought care from public or insured employee health facilities and had longer diagnostic delay in analysis adjusted for age and gender. Patients with TB were significantly more likely to first self-medicate than to visit professional health facilities before diagnosis (P = 0.003). Thus, diagnostic delay was prolonged, greatest among older, low-income women, and varied according to the type of care sought by individuals when their symptoms commenced. These findings suggest that TB case-finding initiatives should target vulnerable groups in informal and private health facilities, where many patients with TB first seek health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delayed Diagnosis / economics
  • Delayed Diagnosis / psychology
  • Delayed Diagnosis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Peru
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Young Adult