Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

BU Testing People with HIV for Tuberculosis Saves Lives

Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death for people with HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, TB accounts for 40 percent of deaths among people with HIV, but nearly half of these TB cases go undiagnosed while the person is still alive.

Now, a new study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher shows that using urine tests for TB to screen all hospitalized patients with HIV would improve life expectancy and be cost-effective in Malawi and South Africa.

The study was published in The Lancet Global Health and could influence international guidelines on TB testing.

[Photo: Urine sample]

“TB is common among HIV-infected people in many parts of the world, and delayed diagnosis can be fatal,” says study co-author Dr. Robert Horsburgh, professor of epidemiology and global health at BUSPH. “Diagnosis is difficult because HIV-infected persons with TB often cannot produce sputum, the usual diagnostic specimen. Thus, the availability of a urine-based test for TB that gives rapid results can be life-saving.”

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