Objective: To assess the influence of tuberculosis (TB) on the progression of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in patients without immunological impairment.
Material and methods: In an observational study of retrospective cohorts, the evolution of 28 HIV-infected patients with TB and a CD4 lymphocyte count >500 x 10(6) cells/l was compared with 56 HIV-infected patients without TB. Each case was paired with two controls by CD4 lymphocyte count (+/-50 x 10(6)/l) and date of starting follow-up (+/-6 months). The progression of HIV infection was evaluated as: 1) immunological progression: time to CD4 lymphocyte count <200 x 10(6)/l; 2) clinical progression: time to development of acquired immune-deficiency syndrome (AIDS), excluding TB; 3) survival; and 4) global disease progression: time to the first defined event in 1, 2 and/or 3. The times to these events were estimated using Kaplan Meier curves.
Results: There were no significant differences between the cohorts for age, sex and risk group. Faster immunological impairment (RR 2.94; 95%CI 1.46-8.6; P < 0.01), greater progression to AIDS (RR 4.01; 95%CI 1.66-9.69; P < 0.01), lower survival (RR 3.89; 95%CI 1.53-9.87; P < 0.05) and higher global disease progression (RR 2.82; 95%CI 1.57-5.09; P < 0.01) were found in the cohort of TB patients. These associations were still significant after adjustment for CD4 lymphocyte counts.
Conclusion: The diagnosis of TB in HIV-infected patients with a high initial CD4 lymphocyte count (>500 x 10(6)/l) was related to greater progression to AIDS and shorter survival.