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Worried about tuberculosis

Dec 26, 2011

You said you still feel shocked seeing people dying because of the virus. I it because they present with advanced disease or non adherence to medicines? I read some posts in TheBody which said doctors are seeing fewer opportunistic infections these days than in the past. I am from a developing country and the disease which terrifies me is tuberculosis (TB). Here TB is multidrug resistant (MDR)and extremely drug resistant (XDR) with a high mortality rate and we are always exposed to that. I don't have any idea about the newest diagnostic procedure for TB detection other than sputum AFB smears, chest x ray or mantoux. Is there any rapid test for TB in the market? Is there any new medicine for MDR/XDR TB other than DOTS or DOTS+ regimen? I am really feeling afraid about TB because I often come in contact with TB patients in a localized area through which I have to pass inevitably due to some unavoidable professional circumstances. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thank you for writing. You are correct to be concerned about HIV and TB coinfection - worldwide, TB is the leading cause of death among persons with HIV.

The drug resistant forms of TB pose a serious risk in both the developed and developing world. People with HIV are 20 to 30 times more likely to develop an active TB infection. If you are at risk, you should be tested annually for latent tuberculosis infection. In the past two years new rapid tests (2 hours) for TB have been announced and endorsed by the World Health Organization. Hopefully, with cost effective production and distribution, more rapid detection of TB can reduce its impact.

Here are some links to more information about TB and HIV: from HIVinsite; the World Health Organization, and the CDC.


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