Simultaneous treatment of TB and AIDS is better

tuberculosisA large South African study stated that it was better to treat tuberculosis and the AIDS virus simultaneously than treating TB virus alone.

There is a 56 per cent reduction in deaths from all causes with the dual treatment, the study stated.

According to the World Health Organization it was reported that about 33 million people worldwide had HIV and lung-destroying tuberculosis has been found in 9.2 million people.

Despite TB virus thriving due to a suppressed immune system because of AIDS virus, doctors have been reluctant to treat both at once. The reason for this is drug interactions, overlapping side effects and the large number of pills that patients have to take each day.

Dr Salim Abdool Karim of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban, South Africa, said, "You add to the risk of side effects very substantially.

Treating TB requires months of antibiotics. HIV is incurable and patients must take cocktails of antiviral drugs for life. What you don't want is patients stopping the TB drugs."

Death rate of people who were treated for both the viruses simultaneously was 5.4 per year and death rate of those who got single treatment was 12.1 per cent.

Following the results WHO was prompted to change its guidelines to call for treating both conditions at the same time.

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