Background: Prevalence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) infection and anergy were evaluated in a cohort of pregnant and nonpregnant women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus who were enrolled in a prospective natural history study (the Women and Infants Transmission Study) conducted in New York, NY; Boston and Worcester, Mass; Chicago, Ill; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Methods: One hundred eighty-three women (65 pregnant, 118 nonpregnant) were evaluated for TB. The TB history and risk factors were assessed by interview and medical record review. Intradermal skin testing with tuberculin, mumps, and tetanus antigens and CD4+ lymphocyte count were performed.
Results: Overall prevalence of TB infection or disease by documented medical history and/or a tuberculin skin test induration of 5 mm or more was 14% (26 of 183). History of TB infection or disease was documented in 11% of the women who were interviewed. Tuberculin and anergy skin test results were evaluable for 124 women; 6% (seven of 124) had tuberculin skin test induration of 5 mm or more, including 11% (five of 46) of the pregnant women who were tested. Induration between 2 and 5 mm was observed in four more women, three of whom were pregnant. Anergy was observed in 42% (52 of 124); prevalence of anergy was higher in nonpregnant women (38 [49%] of 78) than in pregnant women (14 [30%] of 46). While anergy was more common in women with a CD4+ cell count of 0.5 x 10(9)/L or less, 27% of those with a CD4+ cell count of more than 0.5 x 10(9)/L were also anergic.
Conclusion: These data support current Public Health Service recommendations for tuberculin skin testing in persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, and emphasize that evaluation should include pregnant as well as nonpregnant women. The prevalence of anergy does not appear increased in pregnancy in women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus. Health care providers should include tuberculin and anergy skin testing as part of the standard prenatal care for women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus.