Tuberculosis and HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa

JAMA. 1992 Sep 23-30;268(12):1581-7. doi: 10.1001/jama.268.12.1581.


Objectives: To review the epidemiologic, clinical, and pathological characteristics and the public health implications of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa.

Data sources: Published medical literature (English and French) and proceedings of international and African conferences on the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Study selection: Selection by the authors of articles most pertinent to HIV infection and tuberculosis in Africa and internationally.

Data extraction: Direct reporting of quantitative data (eg, HIV seroprevalence levels) and of qualitative descriptions and conclusions from selected literature.

Data synthesis: High rates (20% to 67%) of HIV infection in patients with tuberculosis have been reported from East, West, Central, and Southern Africa. An increase in tuberculosis cases has been reported at the same time as the emergence of AIDS in several countries. Autopsies in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire), have shown tuberculosis as the most frequent opportunistic infection in patients dying of AIDS. Clinical differences in patients with tuberculosis who were HIV-positive and HIV-negative are reviewed, the most important being a greatly increased mortality rate in HIV-associated disease. Access to HIV testing is required for firm diagnosis, for clinical care and counseling, and for public health surveillance.

Conclusions: The epidemiology of tuberculosis has been profoundly influenced by the epidemic of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa. Greatly increased human and material resources are required for this neglected problem in international health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Seroprevalence
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis / etiology