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Tuberculosis Risk Climbs Sharply After HIV Infection

Tuberculosis Risk Climbs Sharply After HIV Infection

Infection with HIV dramatically increases the risk of acquiring tuberculosis'with the risk doubling during the first year after seroconversion, according to a study in the January 15 issue of Journal of Infectious Diseases.

It had been previously assumed that the heightened risk for TB among people with HIV was caused by a weakening of the immune system over time, but the new data taken from a study of nearly 24,000 gold-mine workers in South Africa showed that the risk increases shortly after infection, before severe immune system damage takes place. TB risk also continued to increase slightly for longer periods of up to seven years after doubling the first year, according to the study.

AIDS experts suggest two possible reasons for the increased early TB risk'that profound immune system dysregulation occurs soon after HIV infection and that patients who develop TB infection within one year of seroconversion are infected with a rapidly progressing form of HIV disease.

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