Smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis among HIV patients receiving Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Globally, tuberculosis-HIV co-infections are on the increase. In 2007, 15% (1.37 million) of the tuberculosis cases were HIV-positive tuberculosis (TB). This cross-sectional study was conducted in February 2009 to assess the effect of the level of CD4 lymphocyte counts on the development of smear positive pulmonary TB (PTB) among HIV patients before and after initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). A total of 155 HIV patients who were on HAART programme were enrolled and out of these 42 (27.1%) were smear positive PTB. Of the 42 PTB patients, 38 (90.5%) were also infected with HIV and were already at initiation of HAART. There was no association between the development of smear positive PTB and socio-demographic characteristics among HIV patients before and after HAART initiation (P>0.05). A larger proportion of HIV+PTB patients diagnosed before and after HAART initiation was found with CD4 lymphocyte count <200cells/µl. However, the difference was not statistically significant (P =0.092). Among HIV patients who were diagnosed to be smear positive PTB after HAART initiation, their CD4 lymphocyte counts at time of TB diagnosis was lower than their CD4 lymphocyte counts at time of HAART initiation. The four patients diagnosed with PTB after HAART initiation had mean CD4 lymphocyte counts at HAART initiation not statistically different from that at TB diagnosis (t=0.715, P=0.526). The median time period within which the diagnosis of smear positive PTB was made after HAART initiation was 22 weeks and the mean time was 66.75 weeks. These findings provide evidence that development of smear positive PTB after HAART initiation may occur at any level of CD4 lymphocyte count (P<0.05). This study was limited by the relatively small sample size, we therefore recommend more studies involving a larger sample size in order to estimate more accurately the effect of both level of CD4 lymphocyte count and HAART on the development of smear positive PTB among HIV patients on treatment.