Management of HIV-associated tuberculosis in resource-limited settings: a state-of-the-art review

The HIV-associated tuberculosis (TB) epidemic remains a huge challenge to public health in resource-limited settings. Reducing the nearly 0.5 million deaths that result each year has been identified as a key priority. Major progress has been made over the past 10 years in defining appropriate strategies and policy guidelines for early diagnosis and effective case management. Ascertainment of cases has been improved through a twofold strategy of provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling in TB patients and intensified TB case finding among those living with HIV. Outcomes of rifampicin-based TB treatment are greatly enhanced by concurrent co-trimoxazole prophylaxis and antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART reduces mortality across a spectrum of CD4 counts and randomized controlled trials have defined the optimum time to start ART. Good outcomes can be achieved when combining TB treatment with first-line ART, but use with second-line ART remains challenging due to pharmacokinetic drug interactions and cotoxicity. We review the frequency and spectrum of adverse drug reactions and immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) resulting from combined treatment, and highlight the challenges of managing HIV-associated drug-resistant TB.