Effect of tuberculosis infection on mortality of HIV-infected patients in Northern Tanzania

Edson W. Mollel Jim Todd, Michael J. Mahande & Sia E. Msuya
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TB and HIV are public health problems, which have a synergistic effect to each other. Despite the decreasing burden of these two diseases they still make a significant contribution to mortality. Tanzania is among the 30 high TB and HIV burden countries.


Routine data over 6 years from people living with HIV (PLHIV) attending health facilities in three regions of Northern Tanzania were analyzed, showing mortality trends from 2012 to 2017 for HIV and HIV/TB subpopulations. Poisson regression with frailty model adjusting for clustering at health facility level was used to analyze the data to determine mortality rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).


Among all PLHIV the overall mortality rate was 28.4 (95% CI 27.6–29.2) deaths per 1000 person-years. For PLHIV with no evidence of TB the mortality rates was 26.2 (95% CI 25.4–27.0) per 1000 person-years, and for those with HIV/TB co-infection 57.8 (95% CI 55.6–62.3) per 1000 person-years. After adjusting for age, sex, residence, WHO stage, and bodyweight, PLHIV with TB co-infection had 40% higher mortality than those without TB (RR 1.4; 95% CI 1.24–1.67).


Over the 6-year period mortality rates for HIV/TB patients were consistently higher than for PLHIV who have no TB. More efforts should be directed into improving nutritional status among HIV patients, as it has destructive interaction with TB for mortality. This will improve patients’ body weight and CD4 counts which are protective against mortality. Among PLHIV attention should be given to those who are in WHO HIV stage 3 or 4 and having TB co-infection.