For many people, tuberculosis (TB) is the first symptom of immune dysfunction associated with HIV infection.
Active tuberculosis is an AIDS defining illness.
One in ten people with HIV will get active tuberculosis within one year of being diagnosed with HIV.
If you have HIV with CD4+ cell count very high that is in the range of 300 to 400, tuberculosis occurs early.
If your HIV virus is in starting stage, tuberculosis affects and infects only the lungs. As your CD4+ cell count drops, tuberculosis is more likely to appear in other parts of the body.
Your HIV levels increase when immune system responds to tuberculosis and therefore it progresses to HIV disease. This, in turn increases other infection risks.
Tuberculosis and HIV positive:
As tuberculosis spreads through air, the increase in active tuberculosis among people infected with both tuberculosis and HIV results in more people with latent tuberculosis, more transmission of tuberculosis bacteria, and more TB disease in whole population.
HIV infections are increasing in latent TB patients. As HIV weakens the immune system, more people are developing active tuberculosis.
If you have advanced HIV infection, it can lead to opportunistic infections. It is so called because they take advantage of weakened immune system.
Important associations between TB and HIV:
- If you have HIV positive, TB is hard to diagnose
- If you are HIV infected, TB develops faster
- If you have HIV infection, Tb becomes danger if undiagnosed or untreated
How can you control both tuberculosis and HIV infection?
Treatment for TB can lead to lowering HIV levels if you have both infections. If you have HIV, you should be screened regularly for TB. When you are diagnosed with HIV first, you should go for Tb testing immediately. After that, you have to take test for TB yearly.
For some, it may be difficult to take drugs for both HIV and TB at the same time. Some of the anti-HIV drugs can interact with some tuberculosis drugs making it more difficult for the treatment. Take the treatment for Tb regularly as advised by doctor. If you do not take drugs regularly, bacteria can become resistant to drugs and this can be dangerous.
Whether you have tuberculosis infection or active tuberculosis disease, it is extremely important to take the right treatment. If you are diagnosed with both HIV and TB at the same time, you may not take the treatment for both at the same time.
It is better to take tuberculosis treatment fist before starting HIV treatment. Always it may not be possible, so take your doctor’s suggestion.
Although TB treatment can improve the quality of life in people with HIV positive, the HIV infection is not completely eliminated and there is always risk from AIDS. Therefore, antiretroviral treatment is important.
Although antiretroviral treatment cannot cure, it can stop you from becoming ill for many years. The treatment consists of drugs which should be taken daily for the rest of life.