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Free Content Impact of human immunodeficiency virus infection on the outcome of treatment and survival of tuberculosis patients in Mwanza, Tanzania

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SETTING: Little is known about the outcome of tuberculosis (TB) treatment and subsequent survival of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients treated under routine programme conditions in a developing country. We followed a cohort of HIV-positive and HIV-negative tuberculosis patients during therapy and assessed their vital and tuberculosis status 3 years after completion of treatment in Mwanza, Tanzania.

METHODS: Newly diagnosed and relapse tuberculosis cases consecutively registered over a 6-month period were enrolled into an epidemiological study of TB/HIV. Treatment outcome was based on information in tuberculosis treatment registers. Patients surviving treatment were assessed 3 years later by personal interview. Cause of death was determined by verbal autopsy.

RESULTS: Of 561 patients enrolled into the study, 505 patients alive at completion of treatment were eligible for assessment at 3 years. Except for mortality, HIV infection was not statistically associated with differing treatment outcomes. At time of follow-up, the overall mortality was 19% and was associated with HIV infection (hazard ratio [hr] 3.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.6–5.2) and age 35 years and over (hr 1.5, 95% CI 1.02–2.1), but not with type of tuberculosis, gender, or initial drug resistance. By life table analysis, probability of survival at 4 years was 35% for HIV-positive patients compared to 90% for HIV-negative patients. Although no relapse cases were diagnosed, verbal autopsy suggested equivalent low rates of relapse in both groups.

CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate the effectiveness of the current approach to the treatment of tuberculosis patients regardless of HIV status. However, HIV-related mortality remains high both during and following completion of treatment, and further studies are needed to determine if this mortality might be reduced by simple interventions which are feasible in developing countries.

Keywords: HIV; Tanzania; outcome of treatment; survival; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2: National Institute of Medical Research, Muhimbili Research Station and Central Tuberculosis Laboratory, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 3: Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 4: Division of TB Elimination, CDC, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 5: Bugando Medical Centre, Mwanza, Tanzania 6: National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme, Mwanza, Tanzania

Publication date: July 1, 1998

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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