Integrated screening for infectious diseases

01 June 2021

Article: 55/2204

A project in Georgia, and World Health Organization (WHO) European regions, has shown that simultaneously testing for several infectious diseases in primary health care settings is feasible and can help to bring down the burden of chronic hepatitis C, HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and tuberculosis (TB).

Countries in Eastern Europe and central Asia have seen higher numbers of people affected by chronic hepatitis B and C, HIV and TB, compared to the rest of the European Region. However, the adoption of integrated testing services in a number of countries, including Georgia, has revealed that combined testing is not only feasible but can identify infections before they become deadly.

Coinfection is common, but finding those affected in a timely manner in order to provide care and life-saving treatment can be a challenge if each disease falls under a separate health programme. Equally, there can be stigma attached to HIV testing, while hepatitis C can go undiagnosed because patients often experience no obvious symptoms.

Source: WHO, 21 May 2021