There are more pulmonary tuberculosis (TB)-related cases compared to the extra-pulmonary strain in Bulawayo, raising fears of a higher HIV and Aids prevalence rate, a medical expert has said.
Speaking at a media briefing at a local hotel yesterday, Bulawayo’s integrated HIV care programme co-ordinator, Sithokozile Hove, said cases of extra-pulmonary TB (EPTB) were more common in HIV-positive patients.
“EPTB is the most common opportunistic infection in HIV-positive patients especially those with a weaker immune system than in HIV-negative patients,” she said.
Hove said there was need for people to be educated on the pulmonary TB symptoms in order to encourage them to promptly consider early treatment to prevent further complications.
“Eighty percent of TB-related cases are pulmonary while 20% are extra-pulmonary where they are not usually infectious except if laryngeal,” she said.
Hove said people infected with HIV had a higher danger of contracting TB and there was need to inform people that early detection was important.
“TB is the most prevalent opportunistic infection in HIV positive patients, but it is equally important to make sure patients are aware that being HIV positive will not kill but TB and other opportunistic infections will,” she said. Hove said ignorance of any opportunistic infections was the major setback that resulted in the increase of HIV related deaths.
“Fever, night sweating, coughing for two weeks, weight loss, bloody sputum production, are the five common pulmonary TB symptoms which people need to be aware of to prevent the increase of diseases,” she added.