Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV-Infected Tuberculosis Patients Saves Lives but Needs to Be Used More Frequently in Thailand

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Abstract

Introduction:

The impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on HIV-infected tuberculosis (TB) patients in public health programs in resource-limited settings is not well documented due to problems with statistical bias in observational studies.

Methods:

We measured the impact of ART on survival of HIV-infected TB patients in Thailand using a propensity score analysis that adjusted for factors associated with receiving ART.

Results:

Of 626 HIV-infected TB patients started on ART during TB treatment, 68 (11%) died compared with 295/643 (46%) of patients not prescribed ART (relative risk 0.24, 95% confidence interval: 0.19 to 0.30); in patients with very low CD4 (<10), 12/56 (21%) patients receiving ART died compared with 35/43 (81%) patients not receiving ART (relative risk 0.26, 95% confidence interval: 0.16 to 0.44). Patients treated in the private sector and in rural areas were less commonly prescribed ART. After controlling for propensity to receive ART, the hazard ratio for death among patients treated with ART was 0.17 (95% confidence interval: 0.12 to 0.24).

Discussion:

Patients who received ART had one sixth the risk of death of those not receiving ART. The survival benefit persisted even for those with a very low CD4 count. Expanding use of ART in HIV-infected TB patients will require increasing ART use in the private sector and rural areas.

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