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Free Content Improved early results for patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV in South Africa

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SETTING: A public tuberculosis (TB) referral hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

OBJECTIVE: To present treatment outcomes of patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) patients and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection with and without highly active antiretroviral therapy.

METHODS: Retrospective cohort study. Eligible patients had drug susceptibility testing that met a consensus definition for XDR-TB, and agreed to treatment. Therapy was based on drug susceptibilities, available medications and patient tolerance.

RESULTS: Overall, 60 XDR-TB patients initiated therapy with a median number of 5.5 drugs. Of these, 43 (72%) were HIV-positive, and 21 (49%) were on antiretroviral therapy; 29 HIV-infected patients (67%) had available CD4 counts, with a median CD4 count of 200.5 cells/mm3 (standard deviation 127.4 cells/mm3). Of 60 patients, 31 (52%) had adverse events (AEs), and 17/60 patients (28%) had severe AEs. During follow-up, 12/60 (20%) experienced sputum culture conversion, while 25/60 (42%) patients died. None of the following was significantly associated with mortality: HIV status, previous MDR diagnosis or severe AEs.

DISCUSSION: In this study, it was possible to treat HIV-XDR-TB coinfected patients and prolong survival in a resource-limited setting. We highlight the challenges in treatment, including high frequencies of AEs and death. Expanded identification of cases, prompt referral for treatment, and attention to management of comorbidities may facilitate successful treatment of XDR-TB in HIV-infected patients.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; South Africa; extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis; treatment

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Section of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 2: Centre for AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), Durban, South Africa; and Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa 3: King George V Hospital, Sydenham, South Africa 4: Section of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; and Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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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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