The proportion of tuberculosis cases in Tanzania attributable to human immunodeficiency virus

M R van Cleeff, H J Chum
International Journal of Epidemiology 1995, 24 (3): 637-42

BACKGROUND: Routine data obtained from the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme (NTLP) of Tanzania have shown a constant increase in the notified number of tuberculosis (TB) cases since 1982. Possible causes include an improved reporting system, improvement in health services after the introduction of short course chemotherapy (SCC), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. This paper examines to what extent the increased TB case detection rate can be attributed to HIV infection, by calculating the population attributable risk for various years.

METHOD: The prevalence of HIV infection was obtained from data of the National AIDS Control Programme and the relative risk of HIV for developing TB from a case-control study and the literature.

RESULTS: Between 1985 and 1989 the increase was the highest among women aged 15-24 years and men aged 25-34 years; age groups in which HIV prevalence is highest. In the case-control study HIV prevalence among blood donors was 9.4% and among smear-positive pulmonary TB patients 51.6%, giving an odds ratio (OR) of 8.1 (95% confidence interval (CI): 4.4-16.3). For all TB cases the OR was 11.8. In a population with an HIV prevalence of 10%, about 40% of the smear-positive TB patients are attributable to HIV. The excess of TB cases in the entire country between 1982 and 1989 can be attributable to HIV infection. This has implications for TB control and socioeconomic consequences in the country.

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