Observational data from Eastern Europe on the management and outcome of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) in HIV positive populations remain sparse in the English-language literature. We compared clinical characteristics and outcomes of 55 patients who were diagnosed with HIV and MDR TB in Eastern Europe between 2004 and 2006 to 89 patients whose Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates were susceptible to isoniazid and rifampicin. Patients with HIV and MDR TB were young and predominantly male with high rates of intravenous drug use, imprisonment and hepatitis C co-infection. Eighty-four per cent of patients with MDR TB had no history of previous TB drug exposure suggesting that the majority of MDR TB resulted from transmission of drug-resistant M. tuberculosis. The use of non-standardized tuberculosis treatment was common, and the use of antiretroviral therapy infrequent. Compared to those with susceptible tuberculosis, patients with MDR TB were less likely to achieve cure or complete tuberculosis treatment (21.8% vs. 62.9%, p < 0.0001), and they were more likely to die (65.5% vs. 27.0%, p < 0.0001). Our study documents suboptimal management and poor outcomes in HIV positive patients with MDR TB. Implementation of WHO guidelines, rapid TB diagnostics and TB drug susceptibility testing for all patients remain a priority in this region.
Keywords: Eastern Europe; HIV; MDR; Resistant; Tuberculosis.
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