Elucidation of the relationship between tuberculosis (TB) and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is needed to help predict the future course of these two epidemics. We examined nationwide trends in TB and AIDS occurring in the same individual.
Health departments in the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam matched their TB and AIDS case registries to determine the number of persons diagnosed with both TB and AIDS. The number of AIDS cases, TB cases, AIDS cases that matched with a TB case on the TB registry, and TB cases that matched with an AIDS case on the AIDS registry were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga. Data were analyzed for the period from 1981 through 1991. The number of matched TB-AIDS cases was compared with a modeled estimate of excess TB cases during the period from 1985 through 1990.
From 1981 through 1991 there were 11 299 AIDS cases that matched with a TB case on the TB registry, representing 5.1% (geographic variation, 0% to 9.3%) of AIDS cases. The TB cases that matched with an AIDS case on the AIDS registry represent 4.3% (geographic variation, 0% to 15.1%) of TB cases from 1981 through 1991. Since 1981, matched TB and AIDS cases increased yearly through 1990. When examined by year of AIDS report, the percentage of AIDS cases that matched with a TB case increased from 1981 to 1982 (1.9% to 5.1%), remained fairly constant from 1983 through 1987 (range, 4.0% to 4.7%), increased in 1988 (5.4%) after extrapulmonary TB was added to the AIDS case definition, and increased slightly through 1990 (5.8%). When examined by year of TB report, the percentage of TB cases that matched with an AIDS case increased steadily from 1981 through 1990 (0.1% to 9.5%). The calculated fraction of excess TB cases during the period from 1985 through 1990 that could be accounted for by identified TB-AIDS cases was 30%.
The risk of TB or AIDS among persons already diagnosed with one disease is much higher than among the general population. The percentage of persons with TB who are also diagnosed with AIDS has been increasing rapidly. Human immunodeficiency virus— induced immunosuppression is an important contributor to the TB epidemic and probably accounts for a minimum of 30% of excess TB cases during the period from 1985 through 1990.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:1281-1286)