TB and HIV Coinfection
Even though fewer people in the United States have tuberculosis (TB), it remains a serious threat, especially for people living with HIV. People living with HIV are more likely than others to become sick with TB. Worldwide, TB is one of the leading causes of death among people living with HIV.
Without treatment, as with other opportunistic infections, HIV and TB can work together to shorten lifespan.
- Someone with untreated latent TB infection and HIV infection is much more likely to develop TB disease during his or her lifetime than someone without HIV infection.
- Among people with latent TB infection, HIV infection is the strongest known risk factor for progressing to TB disease.
- A person who has both HIV infection and TB disease has an AIDS-defining condition.
People infected with HIV who also have either latent TB infection or TB disease can be effectively treated. The first step is to ensure that people living with HIV are tested for TB infection. If found to have TB infection, further tests are needed to rule out TB disease. The next step is to start treatment for latent TB infection or TB disease based on test results.
Untreated latent TB infection can quickly progress to TB disease in people living with HIV since the immune system is already weakened. And without treatment, TB disease can progress from sickness to death.
Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options for people living with HIV who also have either latent TB infection or TB disease. Consult with your state or local health department for treatment options.