Intensified pulmonary tuberculosis case finding among HIV-infected new entrants of a prison in Malaysia: implications for a holistic approach to control tuberculosis in prisons

Haider Al-Darraji, Philip Hill, Katrina Sharples, Frederick L. Altice, Adeeba Kamarulzaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: This intensified case finding study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) disease among people with HIV entering the largest prison in Malaysia. Design/methodology/approach: The study was conducted in Kajang prison, starting in July 2013 in the men’s prison and June 2015 in the women’s prison. Individuals tested positive for HIV infection, during the mandatory HIV testing at the prison entry, were consecutively recruited over five months at each prison. Consented participants were interviewed using a structured questionnaire and asked to submit two sputum samples that were assessed using GeneXpert MTB/RIF (Xpert) and culture, irrespective of clinical presentation. Factors associated with active TB (defined as a positive result on either Xpert or culture) were assessed using regression analyses. Findings: Overall, 214 incarcerated people with HIV were recruited. Most were men (84.6%), Malaysians (84.1%) and people who inject drugs (67.8%). The mean age was 37.5 (SD 8.2) years, and median CD4 lymphocyte count was 376 cells/mL (IQR 232–526). Overall, 27 (12.6%) TB cases were identified, which was independently associated with scores of five or more on the World Health Organization clinical scoring system for prisons (ARR 2.90 [95% CI 1.48–5.68]). Originality/value: Limited data exists about the prevalence of TB disease at prison entry, globally and none from Malaysia. The reported high prevalence of TB disease in the study adds an important and highly needed information to design comprehensive TB control programmes in prisons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-511
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Prisoner Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Entry
  • HIV
  • Malaysia
  • Prison
  • Tuberculosis
  • Xpert

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