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Study: HIV, tuberculosis should be treated simultaneously

Category: Autoimmune Diseases

According to a new study published in the February 25th issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, patients infected with tuberculosis and HIV who are treated for both diseases simultaneously experience a better outcome than those who defer antiretroviral therapy until TB treatment has been completed.

Tuberculosis is currently the most frequent cause of death in patients with HIV infection in developing countries. The World Health Organization has reported that the number of patients infected with both diseases continues to grow rapidly. In the past, doctors have refrained from treating the diseases simultaneously due to potential drug interactions.

In the study, researchers from the Centre for the AIDS Programme in South Africa monitored 642 patients suffering from both HIV and tuberculosis. A total of 429 patients were treated with combined integrated-therapy and 213 individuals were placed in the sequential-therapy group, in which antiretroviral medication was only initiated after TB treatment had been concluded.

After a period of follow-up, the research team found that combined therapy was associated with a 56 percent reduced mortality rate.

Based on the results of this study, which was completed late last year, the World Health Organization has revised their guidelines for the treatment of TB and HIV co-infection.
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