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Tuberculosis and HIV

Related Terms

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Background

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection of the lungs, which is caused by the microorganism Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Symptoms may include cough, shortness of breath, pleurisy (inflamed membranes around the lungs), fever, weight loss, night sweats, chills and loss of appetite. The disease can cause serious respiratory problems, which can be life threatening, especially if left untreated.
  • Tuberculosis is transmitted through airborne droplets. People become infected with TB when they inhale particles of infected sputum from the air. The bacteria become airborne when an infected person expels saliva (when they cough, sneeze, talk, spit, etc.).
  • About 10 to 15 million Americans have latent TB infections, which means they do not express any symptoms of TB, but they carry the bacterium that causes the disease. These individuals have healthy immune systems that are able to suppress the infection. Only 10% of individuals with latent TB develop the infection.
  • However, patients who have weakened immune systems, including HIV patients, have an increased risk of developing active TB infections. The risk of developing active TB increases 7-10% in HIV patients who have latent TB. Since HIV patients are immunocompromised, they are more likely to experience symptoms in areas of the body other than the lungs (extrapulmonary TB) than the general population. The disease may affect the bones, joints, nervous system or urinary tract. Also, TB appears to make HIV infection worse.
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Causes

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Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.