TB Prevention, Treatment Should Be Integrated Into HIV Treatment Programs, JAMA Study Says
Tuberculosis prevention and treatment activities should be integrated into HIV treatment programs in resource-limited settings where TB mortality is widespread and where multi-drug resistant TB is emerging to reduce deaths among people living with HIV/TB coinfection, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Xinhuanet reports.
The study proposes that increased efforts should be made to identify TB cases in HIV clinics. HIV-positive people and those living with them should regularly be screened for TB, the study says. The study authors also recommend that all HIV-positive people who do not have TB receive the antibiotic isoniazid to help prevent TB infection. Physicians also should consider administering antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive people at earlier stages of the disease to reduce damage to the immune system and reduce the risk of TB.
The study's authors emphasized that TB control measures should be implemented in HIV clinics and that all TB cases among HIV-positive people should be recorded and reported to national agencies. "HIV programs have no option but to address TB vigorously to save patient lives, safeguard the massive investment in HIV treatment and to curb the global TB burden," Diane Havlir, lead author of the study and an HIV/AIDS expert at the University of California--San Francisco, said (Xinhuanet, 7/22).
An abstract of the study is available online.