Management of BU-HIV co-infection

Trop Med Int Health. 2014 Sep;19(9):1040-7. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12342. Epub 2014 Jun 20.


Background: Buruli Ulcer (BU)-HIV co-infection is an important emerging management challenge for BU disease. Limited by paucity of scientific studies, guidance for management of this co-infection has been lacking.

Methods: Initiated by WHO, a panel of experts in BU and HIV management developed guidance principles for the management of BU-HIV co-infection based on review of available scientific evidence, current treatment experience, and global recommendations established for management of HIV infection and tuberculosis.

Results: The expert panel agreed that all BU patients should be offered quality provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling. In areas with high prevalence of malaria and/or bacterial infections, all patients with HIV co-infection should be started on cotrimoxazole preventative therapy. Combination antibiotic treatment for BU should be commenced before starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) and provided for 8 weeks duration. The suggested combination is rifampicin (10 mg/kg daily up to a maximum of 600 mg/day) plus streptomycin (15 mg/kg daily). An alternative regimen is rifampicin plus clarithromycin (7.5 mg/kg twice daily up to a maximum of 1000 mg daily) although due to drug interactions with antiretroviral drugs this regimen should be used with caution. ART should be initiated in all BU-HIV co-infected patients with symptomatic HIV disease (WHO clinical stage 3 or 4) regardless of CD4 cell count and in asymptomatic individuals with CD4 count ≤500 cells/mm(3) . If CD4 count is not available, BU-HIV co-infected individuals with category 2 or 3 BU disease should be offered ART. For eligible individuals, ART should be commenced as soon as possible within 8 weeks after commencing BU treatment, and as a priority in those with advanced HIV disease (CD4 ≤ 350 cells/mm(3) or WHO stage 3 or 4 disease). All co-infected patients should be actively screened for tuberculosis before commencing BU treatment and before starting ART. Programmes should implement a monitoring and reporting system to document the outcomes of BU-HIV interventions.

Conclusions: Knowledge of the clinical and epidemiological interactions between BU and HIV disease is limited. While awaiting more urgently needed evidence, current management practice of both diseases has been useful to build simple 'common sense' preliminary guidance on how to manage BU-HIV co-infection.

Keywords: Buruli ulcer; HIV; VIH; antiretroviral therapy; terapia antirretroviral, úlcera de Buruli; thérapie antirétrovirale; traitement; tratamiento; treatment; ulcère de Buruli.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Buruli Ulcer / complications
  • Buruli Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Buruli Ulcer / epidemiology
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Coinfection / drug therapy*
  • Coinfection / epidemiology
  • Endemic Diseases
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination