Background: Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine, Tambaram Sanatorium, Chennai, is the largest HIV-care center in South East Asia. As many as 29,300 HIV patients visited this center at least once in the year 2005 for care and support.
Objectives: Clinical manifestations and the modes of presentation of tuberculosis were assessed among 12,750 adult and adolescent patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attending the hospital for the first time.
Materials and methods: Database of Hospital Information System, specially evolved for managing patients afflicted with tuberculosis and HIV, was utilized. The particulars confined to patients with tuberculosis and HIV co-infection who visited the hospital for the first time from January to December 2005 were considered for the analysis. Proportion test and Chi-square test with Yates correction were done.
Results: As many as 12,750 adult and adolescent HIV-confirmed patients were screened for the possible presence of tuberculosis. Out of them, 4,383 (34.4%) patients had tuberculosis. Among them, 2,448 (55.9%) had pulmonary tuberculosis, and the remaining 1,935 (44.1%) had either disseminated or extra-pulmonary tuberculosis (P<0.001). Positive sputum-smear microscopy for acid fast bacilli was evident in 1,363 (31.1%) patients; however, it was significantly lower compared to positive smear rate of 44% in HIV patients (P< 0.001).
Conclusion: Tuberculosis was found to be the predominant co-infection among the symptomatic patients infected with HIV attending the largest care center for the first time in India. Advanced tuberculosis, disseminated tuberculosis and sputum smear negative pulmonary tuberculosis were the presenting clinical manifestations in 44% of the patients, as they had moderate to advanced immunosuppression. Early detection of tuberculosis co-infection is absolutely necessary.
Keywords: Clinical manifestations; human immunodeficiency virus; tuberculosis.