According to an article in the July 23/30 issue of JAMA, tuberculosis (TB) is a major cause of death for persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and needs to be addressed aggressively and immediately. In the article, the American Medical Association (AMA) declares that HIV care and treatment programs in resource-limited settings are most affected by TB cases.

“As HIV care expands further, there is both an opportunity and necessity for incorporation of TB control activities into these program,” write the authors of the article.

The AMA writes that addressing TB, including the development of multidrug-resistant strains of the epidemic, through HIV treatment centers will save patient lives and help curb the global TB burden.

“Tuberculosis programs simply do not have the capacity to provide ongoing TB screening, prevention, and treatment for millions of individuals receiving HIV care,” states the JAMA article.

In order to reduce the TB burden for HIV care programs, the JAMA article proposes several ways to address the problem:
– Find and treat TB cases promptly. This includes actively identifying TB among HIV patients in addition to screening household members for active TB
– Expand the care models in which TB is treated by HIV programs.
– HIV programs must improve the recording and reporting of TB cases. Record and report formats should be standardized in accordance with national TB guidelines.

The full article and complete list of proposed points of improvement are available on the JAMA website.