Outcomes of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis treatment with early initiation of antiretroviral therapy for HIV co-infected patients in Lesotho

PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46943. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046943. Epub 2012 Oct 24.


Background: Although the importance of concurrent treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and HIV co-infection has been increasingly recognized, there have been few studies reporting outcomes of MDR-TB and HIV co-treatment. We report final outcomes of comprehensive, integrated MDR-TB and HIV treatment in Lesotho and examine factors associated with death or treatment failure.

Methods: We reviewed clinical charts of all adult patients who initiated MDR-TB treatment in Lesotho between January 2008 and September 2009. We calculated hazard ratios (HR) and used multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression to identify predictors of poor outcomes.

Results: Of 134 confirmed MDR-TB patients, 83 (62%) were cured or completed treatment, 46 (34%) died, 3 (2%) transferred, 1 (1%) defaulted, and 1 (1%) failed treatment. Treatment outcomes did not differ significantly by HIV status. Among the 94 (70%) patients with HIV co-infection, 53% were already on antiretroviral therapy (ART) before MDR-TB treatment initiation, and 43% started ART a median of 16 days after the start of the MDR-TB regimen. Among HIV co-infected patients who died, those who had not started ART before MDR-TB treatment had a shorter median time to death (80 days vs. 138 days, p=0.065). In multivariable analysis, predictors of increased hazard of failure or death were low and severely low body mass index (HR 2.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.27-5.93; HR 5.50, 95% CI 2.38-12.69), and a history of working in South Africa (HR 2.37, 95% CI 1.24-4.52).

Conclusions: Favorable outcomes can be achieved in co-infected patients using a community-based treatment model when both MDR-TB and HIV disease are treated concurrently and treatment is initiated promptly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / drug therapy*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lesotho
  • Treatment Outcome*
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / complications
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Antitubercular Agents

Grant support

BHG and SSA received support from the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine Research Core at Harvard Medical School. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.