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TB: Making the Connection

The interconnectedness of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS grows increasingly apparent as biomedical and behavioral scientists learn more about people's susceptibility and risks. CDC is applying new research to the elimination of TB and the prevention of HIV infection.

TB and HIV Coinfection
What Can AIDS Service Organizations Do to Help?


TB and HIV Coinfection

HIV weakens the immune system; TB thrives in a weakened immune system. Thus, each disease speeds the other's progress:

  • HIV is the most powerful known risk factor for reactivation of latent TB infection to active disease. (1)
  • Someone with untreated latent TB infection and HIV infection is much more likely to develop active TB disease during his or her lifetime than someone without HIV infection. (2)
  • TB is a leading cause of death among people who are HIV-positive. (3)
  • A person who has both HIV and active TB disease has an AIDS-defining condition.(4)

About one-third of the 33.2 million HIV-positive people worldwide are co-infected with TB(5) and one in four people living with HIV die as a result of TB.(6) In Africa, HIV is the single most important factor determining the increased incidence of TB in the past 10 years. (7)

HIV-infected persons with either latent TB infection or active TB disease can be effectively treated. The first step is to ensure that HIV-infected persons get a TB skin test and any other needed tests. The second step is to help the people found to have either latent TB infection or active TB disease get proper treatment. Rapid progression from latent TB infection to active TB disease can easily be prevented.(8)

Learn more about the role of HIV prevention and treatment in TB elimination:



What Can HIV/AIDS Service Organizations Do to Help?

AIDS service organizations (ASOs) can play a critical role in ensuring that HIV-related TB can be prevented and cured in their clients. ASOs can:

  • Collaborate with your local health department's tuberculosis (TB) control program
  • Educate your staff about TB
  • Educate your staff about the importance of TB skin testing in the prevention of TB
  • Educate your staff about the proper treatment of persons coinfected with TB and HIV
  • Inform your clients about TB through brochure distribution and one-on-one and group education sessions
  • Offer TB screening and treatment referrals to your clients
  • Provide TB testing for your high-risk clients
  • Assist in the delivery of DOT for latent TB infection

For more information, see the CDC brochure targeted to ASOs on TB and HIV Coinfection



1 WHO Frequently Asked Questions about TB and HIV
2 TB and HIV Coinfection 2005: What Can HIV/AIDS Service Organizations Do to Help?
3 World Health Organization (WHO) Tuberculosis Fact Sheet
4 TB and HIV Coinfection 2005: What Can HIV/AIDS Service Organizations Do to Help?
5 TB/HIV Facts 2009, World Health Organization
6 TB/HIV Facts 2009, World Health Organization
7 World Health Organization (WHO) Tuberculosis Fact Sheet
8 TB and HIV Coinfection 2005: What Can HIV/AIDS Service Organizations Do to Help?


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