Setting: Little is known about the outcome of tuberculosis (TB) treatment and subsequent survival of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients treated under routine programme conditions in a developing country. We followed a cohort of HIV-positive and HIV-negative tuberculosis patients during therapy and assessed their vital and tuberculosis status 3 years after completion of treatment in Mwanza, Tanzania.
Methods: Newly diagnosed and relapse tuberculosis cases consecutively registered over a 6-month period were enrolled into an epidemiological study of TB/HIV. Treatment outcome was based on information in tuberculosis treatment registers. Patients surviving treatment were assessed 3 years later by personal interview. Cause of death was determined by verbal autopsy.
Results: Of 561 patients enrolled into the study, 505 patients alive at completion of treatment were eligible for assessment at 3 years. Except for mortality, HIV infection was not statistically associated with differing treatment outcomes. At time of follow-up, the overall mortality was 19% and was associated with HIV infection (hazard ratio [hr] 3.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.6-5.2) and age 35 years and over (hr 1.5, 95% CI 1.02-2.1), but not with type of tuberculosis, gender, or initial drug resistance. By life table analysis, probability of survival at 4 years was 35% for HIV-positive patients compared to 90% for HIV-negative patients. Although no relapse cases were diagnosed, verbal autopsy suggested equivalent low rates of relapse in both groups.
Conclusion: These results demonstrate the effectiveness of the current approach to the treatment of tuberculosis patients regardless of HIV status. However, HIV-related mortality remains high both during and following completion of treatment, and further studies are needed to determine if this mortality might be reduced by simple interventions which are feasible in developing countries.