BACKGROUND: The emergence of resistance to anti-tuberculosis (DR-TB) drugs and the HIV epidemic represent a serious threat for reducing the global burden of TB. Although data on HIV-negative DR-TB treatment outcomes are well published, few data on DR-TB outcomes among HIV co-infected people is available despite the great public health importance.
METHODS: We retrospectively reported and compared the DR-TB treatment outcomes of HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients treated with an individualized regimen based on WHO guidelines in seven countries: Abkhazia, Armenia, Colombia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Swaziland and Uzbekistan.
RESULTS: Of the 1,369 patients started DRTB treatment, 809 (59.1%) were multi-drug resistant (MDR-TB) and 418 (30.5%) were HIV-positive. HIV-positive patients were mainly from African countries (90.1%) while HIV-negative originated from Former Soviet Union (FSU) countries. Despite a higher case fatality rate (19.0% vs 9.4%), HIV-positive MDR-TB patients had a 10% higher success rate than HIV-negative patients (64.0% vs 53.2%, p = 0.007). No difference in treatment success was found among polydrug-resistant (PDR-TB) patients. Overall, lost to follow-up rate was much higher among HIV-negative (22.0% vs. 8.4%). Older age and not receiving ART were the only factors associated with unfavorable treatment outcome among HIV-positive patients.
CONCLUSIONS: As already known for HIV-negative patients, success rate of DR-TB HIV-positive patients remains low and requires more effective DR-TB regimen using new drugs also suitable to HIV-infected patients on ART. The study also confirms the need of ART introduction in HIV co-infected patients.