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tb risk

Aug 30, 2004

Hi, I'm not sure if this is the right forum but you can have a look at this question anyway. I'm 13years positive and coping ok on meds, t's around 500, vl undetectable for about 8years. I recently went away bushwalking with my best friend for a week- just mates, no sex, but we were once sex partners (15 years ago) and have been very close over the years. He surprised me by telling me he recently was diagnosed with "dormant tb" or "inactive tb" which apparently just sits in his lungs. Its likely he has had it for some years. He has opted not to get it treated as it involves a long course of antibiotics. It kind of freaked me out. Should I be concerned enough to have a test? How much exposure is risky in this situation? Am I overreacting? Thanks and regards P

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi P,

Bushwalking??? Hmmm, you must be either Australian with an aborigine for a best buddy or a lesbian. Or maybe it's a typo and you are one of the hundreds of thousands of Bush-whackers descending on New York City to face off with the GOP fanatics and fools congregating at the Madison Square Garden's Revival Tent!?!

Well, either way, it's on to your question . . . . I'm not exactly clear on what your buddy means by "dormant tb or inactive tb." I do not feel you are any significant increased risk of TB from your bush-whacking (or walking, or whatever). However, we do recommend tb screening (PPD) as part of the initial workup of all HIV-positive patients. So if you've never had a PPD (skin test) done in the past, you should get that done now. And even if you did have it done 13 years ago when you were first diagnosed HIV positive, you could repeat it now if you are worried. It's a very simple, inexpensive test. But do I think you really need to have it done solely as a consequence of your recent bushwalk? No.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

Sharing drink with gum-diseased HIV + guy
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