Knowing the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status of tuberculosis (TB) patients is essential to optimal patient management. TB is an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining opportunistic condition.
Patients with both TB and HIV infection are five times more likely to die during anti-TB treatment than patients who are not HIV infected (CDC, unpublished data, 2003). HIV infection is the greatest known risk factor for progression from latent TB infection to TB disease.1 In the United States, after TB exposure and infection, HIV-infected persons who do not receive appropriate treatment progress to TB disease over 5 years at a rate 10 times greater than that for persons not infected with HIV.2,3 In 1989, CDC recommended that all TB patients be offered HIV testing4 and, in 2006, called for routine HIV screening of all TB patients after the patient is notified that testing will be performed, unless the patient declines (opt-out screening).5 In addition to enabling optimal patient management, knowing the HIV status (i.e., positive or negative) of TB patients helps public health agencies to identify HIV-infected contacts of TB patients. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)
can reduce the progression to TB disease,6 TB relapse,7 and death.8 To assess reported HIV status of TB patients and selected characteristics of TB patients with HIV infection, CDC analyzed data from the U.S. National TB Surveillance System for the period 1993-2005. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that (1) reporting of HIV status among TB patients increased from 35% in 1993 to 68% in 2003, (2) HIV status of 31% of TB patients was unknown in 2005, (3) 9% of TB patients were HIV positive in 2005,
and (4) groups of TB patients at greater risk for HIV infection included injection-drug users (IDUs), noninjection-drug users (NIDUs), homeless persons, non-Hispanic blacks, correctional-facility inmates, and alcohol abusers. Increased promotion of routine HIV testing and rapid HIV tests9 might increase acceptability of testing, which would allow health-care providers to know the HIV status of a greater percentage of TB patients and enable them to provide optimal care.