Tuberculosis in visceral leishmaniasis-human immunodeficiency virus coinfection: an evidence gap in improving patient outcomes?
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Background: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL)-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection remains a major problem in Ethiopia, India, and Brazil. Tuberculosis (TB), a treatable factor, could contribute to high mortality (up to 25%) in VL-HIV coinfection. However, the current evidence on the prevalence and clinical impact of TB in VL-HIV coinfection is very limited. In previous reports on routine care, TB prevalence ranged from 5.7% to 29.7%, but information on how and when TB was diagnosed was lacking.
Methods: Field observations suggest that TB work-up is often not done systematically, and it is only done in patients who do not respond well to VL treatment. Here, we advocate high-quality diagnostic studies in VL-HIV-coinfected patients, during which all patients are systematically screened for TB, including a comprehensive work-up, to obtain reliable estimates.
Results: Cost-effective and feasible diagnostic algorithms can be developed for field use, and this can be integrated in VL clinical guidelines.
Conclusions: An accurate diagnosis of TB can allow clinicians to assess its clinical impact and evaluate the impact of early TB diagnosis.