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OBJECTIVES: To describe the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of HIV-related tuberculosis in a female cohort, and to investigate the relative importance of recently transmitted infection and reactivation in the pathogenesis of adult HIV-related tuberculosis. DESIGN: Members of an established cohort of female sex workers in Nairobi were enrolled in a prospective study. Women were followed up regularly and seen on demand when sick. METHODS: Between October 1989 and September 1992 we followed 587 HIV-infected and 132 HIV-seronegative women. Standard protocols were used to investigate common presentations. Cases of tuberculosis were identified clinically or by culture. All available Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains underwent DNA fingerprint analysis. RESULTS: Forty-nine incident and four recurrent episodes of tuberculosis were seen in HIV-infected women; no disease was seen in seronegative sex workers (P = 0.0003). The overall incidence rate of tuberculosis was 34.5 per 1000 person-years amongst HIV-infected participants. In purified protein derivative (PPD) skin test-positive women the rate was 66.7 per 1000 person-years versus 18.1 per 1000 person-years in PPD-negative women. Twenty incident cases (41%) were clinically compatible with primary disease. DNA fingerprint analysis of strains from 32 incident cases identified two clusters comprising two and nine patients; allowing for index cases, 10 patients (28%) may have had recently transmitted disease. Three out of 10 (30%) patients who were initially PPD skin test-negative became PPD-positive. Taken together, 26 incident cases (53%) may have been recently infected. DNA fingerprint analysis also identified two (50%) of the four recurrent tuberculosis episodes as reinfection. CONCLUSIONS: Substantial recent transmission of tuberculosis appears to be occurring in Nairobi amongst HIV-infected sex workers. It may be incorrect to assume in other regions of high tuberculosis transmission that active HIV-related tuberculosis usually represents reactivation of latent infection.

Type

Journal article

Journal

AIDS

Publication Date

06/1997

Volume

11

Pages

911 - 918

Keywords

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, Africa, Africa South Of The Sahara, Behavior, Cohort Analysis, Developing Countries, Diseases, Eastern Africa, English Speaking Africa, Hiv Infections, Incidence, Infections, Kenya, Measurement, Prospective Studies, Prostitutes--women, Research Methodology, Research Report, Sex Behavior, Studies, Tuberculosis--transmission, Viral Diseases, AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections, Adult, CD4 Lymphocyte Count, Cohort Studies, Female, Follow-Up Studies, HIV-1, Humans, Kenya, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Prospective Studies, Sex Work, Tuberculin Test, Tuberculosis