Smear microscopy and culture conversion rates among smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis patients by HIV status in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
TypePeer reviewed; Journal article
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Background Tanzania ranks 15th among the world's 22 countries with the largest tuberculosis burden and tuberculosis has continued to be among the major public health problems in the country. Limited data, especially in patients co infected with HIV, are available to predict the duration of time required for a smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis patient to achieve sputum conversion after starting effective treatment. In this study we assessed the sputum smear and culture conversion rates among HIV positive and HIV negative smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis patients in Dar es Salaam Methods The study was a prospective cohort study which lasted for nine months, from April to December 2008 Results A total of 502 smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis patients were recruited. HIV test results were obtained for 498 patients, of which 33.7% were HIV positive. After two weeks of treatment the conversion rate by standard sputum microscopy was higher in HIV positive(72.8%) than HIV negative(63.3%) patients by univariate analysis(P = 0.046), but not in multivariate analysis. Also after two weeks of treatment the conversion rate by fluorescence microscopy was higher in HIV positive (72.8%) than in HIV negative(63.2%) patients by univariate analysis (P = 0.043) but not in the multivariate analysis. The conversion rates by both methods during the rest of the treatment period (8, 12, and 20 weeks) were not significantly different between HIV positive and HIV negative patients. With regards to culture, the conversion rate during the whole period of the treatment (2, 8, 12 and 20 weeks) were not significantly different between HIV positive and HIV negative patients. Conclusion Conversion rates of standard smear microscopy, fluorescence microscopy and culture did not differ between HIV positive and HIV negative pulmonary tuberculosis patients.