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Relationship between Tuberculosis and HIV

Snr By Vatsal Anand , Onlymyhealth editorial team / Mar 17, 2012
Relationship between Tuberculosis and HIV

Relation between Tuberculosis and HIV: Tuberculosis infection affects people whose immune system is weak, and HIV does exactly that.

Tuberculosis is a disease which is closely linked to the condition of a person’s immune system. In fact, it occurs only in people whose immune system is not strong enough to either destroy the tuberculosis agent, mycobacterium tuberculosis, or let it exist in a dormant state. The relation between tuberculosis and HIV is evident from the full name of this acronym, Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

Since HIV is directly related to the weakening of the human immune system, the chances of latent TB becoming active is much more in HIV infected people. This is simply because the ability of the body to fight with the virus of diseases such as tuberculosis is limited. The weak immune system lets the TB virus to multiply unchecked leading to illness. In fact, TB infection is one of the defining conditions for HIV infected person to be termed as AIDS patient. In other words, HIV infected person having TB infection in the lungs or elsewhere in the body is said to have AIDS.

The connection between HIV and tuberculosis is so inter-related that together these two have been termed a co-epidemic. TB cases in countries where HIV infection is high are more than double compared to other countries.


Facts highlighting the relation between TB and HIV


  • The two diseases have been found to be far more deadly far more deadly when occurring together. When occurring alone, they are not half as serious.
  • In developing countries, the first sign of AIDS in HIV infected people is TB.
  • One-third of the more than 38 million HIV infected people of the world also have TB infection. They are also at an increased risk of developing the active form of TB.
  • Tuberculosis is the major cause of sickness and deaths in HIV infected people of Africa and also the HIV-positive people in other parts of the world.

People who are HIV positive should necessarily take the test for TB, particularly if they have been in close contact with a TB infected person. You would be diagnosed as either positive or negative and both these result have different sets of prescribed care. Positive test means that you have latent TB but it needs to be confirmed that your TB is not active. A series of tests are again recommended for that. HIV positive mothers should get their babies tested if the child was born after the HIV infection.


Read more articles on Understand Tuberculosis




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