Tuberculosis in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Clinical features, response to therapy, and survival

R. E. Chaisson, G. F. Schecter, C. P. Theuer, G. W. Rutherford, D. F. Echenberg, P. C. Hopewell

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368 Scopus citations


Tuberculosis has been reported previously in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome who are at increased risk of prior infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We performed a population-based study of AIDS and tuberculosis in San Francisco using the Tuberculosis and AIDS Registeries of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Of 287 cases of tuberculosis in non-Asian-born males 15 to 60 yr of age reported from 1981 through 1985, 35 (12%) also had AIDS, including 23 American-born whites. Patients with tuberculosis and AIDS were more likely to be nonwhite and heterosexual intravenous drug users than were AIDS patients without tuberculosis. Fifty-one percent had tuberculosis diagnosed before AIDS, and 37 percent had AIDS diagnosed at least 1 month prior to the diagnosis of tuberculosis. Although the lungs were the most frequent site of tuberculosis in both AIDS and non-AIDS patients, 60% of the AIDS group had at least 1 extrapulmonary site of disease compared to 28% of the non-AIDS group (p < 0.001). Nonsignificant tuberculin skin tests were more common in AIDS patients (14 of 23 patients tested) than in non-AIDS patients (12 of 129 patients tested; p < 0.0001). Chest radiographs in AIDS patients showed predominantly diffuse or miliary infiltrates (60%), whereas non-AIDS patients had predominantly focal infiltrates and/or cavitation (68%). Response to antituberculosis therapy was favorable in AIDS patients, although adverse drug reactions occurred more frequently than in non-AIDS patients (p < 0.02). Overall mortality was high, was almost always caused by AIDS, and did not differ when measured from time of tuberculosis diagnosis or from time of AIDS diagnosis. These data confirm than tuberculosis is an AIDS-related opportunistic infection characterized by atypical clinical features and poor survival, and that tuberculosis may appear after AIDS is diagnosed in patients with a low likelihood of prior tuberculous infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)570-574
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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