Free Content Preventing recurrent tuberculosis in high HIV-prevalent areas in sub-Saharan Africa: what are the options for tuberculosis control programmes? [Unresolved Issues]

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Several studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa have pointed to an increased risk of recurrent TB in patients who are HIV-seropositive. Routine case notification data from the Malawi Tuberculosis Programme, which has improved its registration practices in the last two years, shows that recurrent TB (smear-positive and smear-negative TB) constitutes 9% of total notifications. The objectives of reducing rates of recurrent TB are 1) to complement other interventions to decrease TB incidence rates and transmission of disease, 2) to reduce TB-specific morbidity and mortality and 3) to restore confidence amongst health care staff and patients about the effectiveness of the current TB control strategy. Four possible options for reducing recurrent TB are discussed, and for each option this includes the evidence for effectiveness, current practice and operational considerations. The options are 1) using rifampicin and isoniazid (RH) in the continuation phase of treatment, 2) extending the duration of the continuation phase, 3) providing post-treatment isoniazid prophylaxis to HIV-positive patients who have completed treatment and 4) treating HIV-positive TB patients with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The last three options all require that TB patients know their HIV serostatus. The authors suggest that this issue of recurrent TB should be considered as one of the important areas for debate and action when considering the dual TB/HIV epidemic.

Keywords: HIV; antiretroviral therapy; isoniazid; recurrent TB

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: National Tuberculosis Programme, Community Health Science Unit, Lilongwe, Malawi 2: National Tuberculosis Programme, Community Health Science Unit, Lilongwe, Malawi; and World Health Organization, Malawi Office, Lilongwe, Malawi 3: Royal Netherlands Tuberculosis Association (KNCV), The Hague, The Netherlands

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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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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