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HIV & TB

Michael Carter

This booklet provides introductory information about tuberculosis (TB), and what it means for you if you have HIV and TB. It includes information on the disease TB, why people with HIV can be more vulnerable to TB, how TB can be treated and prevented, and interactions between anti-TB and anti-HIV drugs. While TB is the most common cause of AIDS deaths around the world, both HIV and TB can be treated successfully.

This booklet is not intended to replace discussion with your doctor. However, it may help you decide what questions to ask your doctor.

This booklet is also available in French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

  • What is tuberculosis?

    Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Symptoms of TB include cough, fever, night sweats, and rapid weight loss – the disease used...

  • TB - the basics

    TB can cause illness in many ways, sometimes at the time of infection, but often years later. Many people are exposed to TB as children, when...

  • Transmission

    People who have active TB – TB that the immune system has not been able to control – in their lungs can transmit the disease...

  • TB’s interaction with HIV

    There is some evidence that having active TB leads to a fall in CD4 cell count and a rise in viral load. This means the...

  • Symptoms

    The most common symptom of TB in the lungs (often called pulmonary TB) is a cough that won't go away, which produces phlegm or mucus...

  • Diagnosing TB

    Because the symptoms of TB can resemble those of other illnesses seen in people with HIV, doctors will often carry out a number of tests...

  • Preventing TB

    Until 2005, school children in the UK and most other European countries were given a vaccination against TB, called BCG. However, this vaccination does not...

  • Treating TB

    Antibiotics to treat TB have been available since the 1950s, and, when used correctly they can cure TB in people with HIV. Like HIV, treating TB...

  • Drug-resistant TB

    TB that is resistant to isoniazid and rifampicin, and to other drugs as well, is becoming much more common. This is called multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB)...

  • Immune reconstitution syndrome

    After starting HIV treatment and experiencing an improvement in their immune system, about 25% of people who have had TB, experience a temporary worsening of...

  • Summary

    TB is the most common AIDS-defining illness worldwide, but people with HIV respond well to TB treatment. People who have been successfully treated for TB respond...

HIV & TB

Published June 2008

Last reviewed June 2008

Next review December 2013

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this booklet.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.