• 1 Hospital Pulau Pinang


The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) is currently increasing. HIV induced immuno-suppression modifies the clinical presentation of TB. Our aim is to determine the differences in clinical presentation of HIV-TB co-infection based on their CD4 counts. This retrospective study looked at cases of adult active TB and HIV-1 co-infection treated in Penang Hospital from January 2004 to December 2005. Of the 820 patients treated for active TB, HIV-1 seropositivity rate was 12.6% (103 patients). Majority of HIV-1 co-infected patients presented with prolonged insidious and non-specific symptoms like weight loss, fever and night sweats. The clinical presentation of TB depended on the stage of HIV-1 infection and associated degree of immunodeficiency. Compared to the less immuno-compromised HIV-1 and TB co-infected population (CD4 > 200/mm3 ), patients with CD4 counts ≤ 200 are more likely to have atypical chest radiographs (P = 0.009). During active TB, the Mantoux test was positive in 12 (14.5%) HIV-1 infected patients with a CD4 counts ≤ 200/mm3 and in 16 (80%) of those with CD4 counts > 200/mm3 (P = 0.0001). In our series, the AFB smear / AFB culture and type of TB did not show obvious correlation with CD4 counts. Therefore to diagnose TB in severely immuno-compromised HIV patients, we need to have a high index of suspicion.