The Relationship Between Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS


Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that affects the lungs and produces unpleasant signs and symptoms which include persistent coughing, loss of weight, loss of appetite, night fever and weakness. It is a condition that comes when one’s immune system is weakened or compromised.

Normally everybody has some particles of these tuberculosis bacteria inside the lungs as a result of exposure to those who have it; but they are harmless because the body’s soldiers are able to keep them in check and prevent them from causing any health problems. The germ remains within the lungs for several years and the individual is not even aware they are there.

The Relationship?

It must be clearly understood here that HIV/AIDS does not cause tuberculosis and that Tuberculosis does not also cause HIV/AIDS. The relationship between them is that, like we said earlier on, when an individual who has been carrying this bacterium for years contracts HIV, his immune system or body soldiers are destroyed by the HIV virus and that makes the dormant bacteria to wake up and suddenly become harmful to his health.

If the individual has also had the bacterial infection before contracting the virus, the condition can also become worse because the soldiers that should have aided his quick recovery are destroyed by the virus. As a result, the individual’s condition may depreciate so fast.

Common signs and symptoms

The person who has tuberculosis may have some common signs and symptoms with one who has HIV but they should never make us arrive at conclusions until diagnoses are made by a competent medical doctor. Some of these common symptoms include but are not limited to the following:

1. Loss of appetite

2. Loss of weight

3. Night fever

4. Weakness

5. Feeling of unwellness, etc

Since these signs are common to both diseases, it is usually not uncommon to see people misconstruing a tuberculosis sufferer for a HIV/AIDs patient. Though in most cases, the bacterial disease comes as a result of immunity compromised by the deadly virus, it must be noted that there are so many people suffering from Koch’s disease (The other name for tuberculosis) that are not HIV positive. There are several other conditions that could reduce one’s immunity, including malnutrition.

Furthermore, HIV/AIDS makes tuberculosis worse, more difficult to treat and increases the likelihood of drug resistance. In the same vein, tuberculosis further endangers the life of the HIV infected person and further weakens him and reduces his immune system the more. The two cases are closely linked together and anyone who already has either of them must do everything humanly possible to avoid contracting the second so as not to make his life totally unbearable.