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Free Content Impact of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 infection on the initial bacteriologic and radiographic manifestations of pulmonary tuberculosis in Uganda

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Setting: TB Treatment Centre, Kampala, Uganda.

Objective: To evaluate the impact of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection on the bacteriologic and radiographic presentation of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) in Uganda, a nation with high rates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and HIV infection.

Design: To compare baseline characteristics among HIV-infected and non-HIV-infected adults with initial newly-diagnosed episodes of culture-confirmed pulmonary TB screened for participation in a randomized prospective TB treatment trial.

Results: Negative and paucibacillary (very scanty or scanty) sputum acid fast bacilli (AFB) smears were more frequent in HIV-infected patients presenting with pulmonary TB (P = 0.007). More HIV-infected individuals also had sputum cultures that required 7–8 weeks incubation until positivity than non-HIV-infected patients (P < 0.01). Lower lung field and diffuse pulmonary infiltrates were more frequent among HIV-infected patients. Rates of atypical X-ray presentations and cavitary disease were comparable between HIV-seropositive and -seronegative patients; however, atypical disease was more frequent in HIV-infected patients with small tuberculin reactions or tuberculin anergy (PPD = 0 mm).

Conclusion: HIV co-infection was associated with a higher frequency of negative and paucibacillary sputum AFB smears. The differences in the diagnostic yields of microscopy and culture between HIV-infected and non-HIV-infected individuals were small and do not, in our opinion, significantly affect the utility of these important diagnostic tests in developing countries. Examining more than one sputum specimen and monitoring cultured specimens for a full 8 weeks may assist in optimizing the diagnostic yield. Upper lobe infiltrates and cavitary disease are still the most frequent radiographic presentations of pulmonary TB in HIV-infected and non-HIV-infected adults in countries with a high prevalence of TB.
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Keywords: AIDS; HIV; diagnosis; microscopy; radiography; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, USA 2: National TB and Leprosy Control Programme, Kampala, Uganda 3: Uganda Tuberculosis Investigations Bacteriological Unit, Kampala, Uganda 4: Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, USA 5: Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 6: Department of Medicine, Mulago Hospital and Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Publication date: 01 May 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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