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Latent TB Treatment

When a person with active TB who is not on TB treatment coughs, sneezes or breathes, the TB bacteria is spread in the air. The bacteria can stay in the air for a few hours, depending on the ventilation in the room. An uninfected person can inhale the TB bacteria and get infected with TB. This person may not present with TB symptoms (coughing, fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss), as the bacteria can exist in a ‘sleeping mode’ in the body. This is called latent TB. A person with latent TB cannot infect others, however, latent TB can progress to active TB in about one in ten people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that close contacts of a person who has been diagnosed with TB and people living with HIV, should be screened for TB disease. This includes checking if the person has any TB symptoms. If TB disease has been ruled out and a person has latent TB, they should be offered TB Preventive Therapy to prevent them from getting sick with TB disease. TB Preventive Therapy options could include taking treatment for anything between three to six months, depending on various factors.

Aims

The overall goal of this project is to improve access to TPT for at-risk populations in South Africa.

What TPT is available?

  • INH: also known as Isoniazid Preventive Therapy where isoniazid taken daily for six, nine, 12 or up to 36 months.
  • 3HP: three months of isoniazid and rifapentine are taken together once a week. The use of 3HP has not yet been studied in children younger than 2 years and is not yet recommended.
  • 1 HP: one month of isoniazid and rifapentine taken together once a day.
  • 3 HR: three months of isoniazid and rifampicin taken together once a day.
  • 4R: four months of daily rifampicin.

We believe that TB Preventive Therapy should be a key component of TB prevention in TB affected communities. For more information on latent TB infection, please consult the  WHO Latent TB Infection: Updated and consolidated guidelines for programmatic management. Another useful link: An activist’s guide to Rifapentine for the treatment of TB infection.

Project Achievements

  1. Advocate for the release and implementation of new National TPT guidelines. Identify gaps or areas for improvement in the guidelines, which may include the scope of coverage of people at risk and/or the type of TPT regimens available.
     
  • TB Proof has provided key inputs for the draft TB Preventive Therapy Guidelines in South Africa as well as input for the WHO Latent TB guidelines.
  • TB Proof members serve on the ‘TB Prevention Task Team’. This platform provides excellent up to date information about TPT in South Africa through emails, conference calls and in-person meetings.
  • TB Proof engaged in numerous advocacy opportunities including the Post TB symposium (www.post-tuberculosis.com).
  • An advocacy letter, ‘Need for timely release of revised guidelines for TB Preventive Therapy in South Africa’ was shared with Dr Yogan Pillay, Deputy Director-General at the National Department of Health, asking for a timely release of the guidelines. This letter was supported by seven organisations and 30 individuals.
     
  1. Develop and pilot TPT awareness campaign materials. Click here to view our TB Preventive Therapy short films.

Our advocacy projects​

CHW TB Champions

A community health worker (CHW) is a representative of a specific community. They have earned the communities’ trust to enter their homes and assist them to improve their health status.

#UnmaskStigma Campaign

Stigma is a term describing the feeling of being ashamed, or experiencing societal disapproval in the way that other people treat you.

All oral drug-resistant TB Treatment

For many years patients were given a difficult choice: die because of drug resistant TB or become deaf as a results of the treatment.

TB IPC Training

Healthcare workers (HCWs) are three times more likely to be infected by TB than the general public and six times more likely to be hospitalized with drug-resistant TB.