Background: Little is known about the time to sputum culture conversion in MDR-TB patients co-infected with HIV, although such patients have, historically, had poor outcomes. We describe culture conversion rates among MDR-TB patients with and without HIV-co-infection in a TB-endemic, high-HIV prevalent, resource-limited setting. Methods: Patients with culture-proven MDR-TB were treated with a standardized second-line regimen. Sputum cultures were taken monthly and conversion was defined as two negative cultures taken at least one month apart. Time-toconversion was measured from the day of initiation of MDR-TB therapy. Subjects with HIV received antiretroviral therapy (ART) regardless of CD4 count. Results: Among 45 MDR-TB patients, 36 (80%) were HIV-co-infected. Overall, 40 (89%) of the 45 patients culture-converted within the first six months and there was no difference in the proportion who converted based on HIV status. Median timetconversion was 62 days (IQR 48-111). Among the five patients who did not culture convert, three died, one was transferred to another facility, and one refused further treatment before completing 6 months of therapy. Thus, no patients remained persistently culture-positive at 6 months of therapy. Conclusions: With concurrent second-line TB and ART medications, MDR-TB/HIV co-infected patients can achieve culture conversion rates and times similar to those reported from HIV-negative patients worldwide. Future studies are needed to examine whether similar cure rates are achieved at the end of MDR-TB treatment and to determine the optimal use and timing of ART in the setting of MDR-TB treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)