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1.  Validating a Scoring System for the Diagnosis of Smear-Negative Pulmonary Tuberculosis in HIV-Infected Adults 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95828.
The challenge of diagnosing smear-negative pulmonary TB (tuberculosis) in people living with HIV justifies the use of instruments other than the smear test for diagnosing the disease. Considering the clinical-radiological similarities of TB amongst HIV-infected adults and children, the proposal of this study was to assess the accuracy of a scoring system used to diagnose smear-negative pulmonary TB in children and adolescents, in HIV-infected adults suspected of having smear-negative pulmonary TB.
A Phase III validation study aiming to assess the diagnostic accuracy of a scoring system for diagnosing smear-negative pulmonary TB in HIV-infected adults. The study assessed sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios, and positive and negative predictive values of the scoring system. Three versions of the scoring system were tested.
From a cohort of 2,382 (HIV-infected adults), 1276 were investigated and 128 were diagnosed with pulmonary TB. Variables associated with the diagnosis of TB were: coughing, weight loss, fever, malnutrition, chest X-ray, and positive tuberculin test. The best diagnostic performance occurred with the scoring system with new scores, with sensitivity = 81.2% (95%-CI 74.5% –88%), specificity = 78% (75.6% –80.4%), PPV = 29.2% (24.5% –33.9%) and NPV = 97.4% (96.4% –98.4%), LR+ = 3.7 (3.4–4.0) and LR− = 0.24 (0.2–0.4).
The proposed scoring system (with new scores) presented a good capacity for discriminating patients who did not have pulmonary TB, in the studied population. Further studies are necessary in order to validate it, thus permitting the assessment of its use in diagnosing smear-negative pulmonary TB in HIV-infected adults.
PMCID: PMC3995940  PMID: 24755628
2.  Empirical treatment for TB in HIV: lessons from a cohort study of people living with HIV treated in Recife, Brazil 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:289.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death related to HIV worldwide. This study analyzes the survival of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) reporting cough without bacteriological confirmation of TB and identify factors associated with death.
Prospective cohort with a consecutive sample of PLHIV, aged ≥ 18 years. Patient inclusion criteria were complaint of current cough of any duration at the time of the first study interview or during their subsequent routine visits to health services and for whom AFB sputum smear was either negative or not performed during the whole follow-up period. Kaplan-Meier method was used to calculate the probability of survival. We estimated the Hazard Ratio (HR) in bivariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses.
Mortality was 4.6 per 100 py; 73% were receiving HAART at recruitment. Average time from the first recorded date of cough until empirical treatment for tuberculosis was six months. Mortality was higher when the CD4 count was low (HR = 5.3; CI 95%: 3.2-9.0; p = 0.000), in those with anemia (HR = 3.0; CI 95%: 1.6-5.6; p = 0.001) and with abnormal chest X-rays (HR = 2.4; CI 95%: 1.4-4.0; p = 0.001). Mortality was higher in those receiving empirical TB treatment (HR = 2.4; CI 95%: 1.4-4.0; p = 0.002), but only in those with normal X-rays, no history of tuberculosis and no bacteriology requests. Empirical treatment for TB was more frequent in PLHIV with low CD4 counts, anemia, history of opportunistic infections, weight loss, previous tuberculosis, negative bacteriology test (as opposed to not having a test) and abnormal chest X-ray.
Higher mortality in PLHIV reporting a current cough without bacteriological confirmation of tuberculosis was identified for those with a CD4 cell count <200, abnormal chest X-ray, anemia and empirical treatment for tuberculosis. Mortality was not significantly higher in those empirically treated for TB, who had three characteristics suggestive of the disease (abnormal chest X-ray, history of TB treatment, AFB sputum smear or M.tb culture testing). Routine cohorts are not an adequate setting to evaluate the impact of empirical treatment for TB on the mortality of PLHIV.
PMCID: PMC4020612  PMID: 24679187
TB/HIV; Mortality rate; Survival analysis
Despite the effectiveness of combination antiretroviral therapy in the treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), nonadherence to medication has become a major threat to its effectiveness. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of self-reported irregular use of antiretroviral therapy and the factors associated with such an irregularity in PLWHA. A cross-sectional study of PLWHA who attended two referral centers in the city of Recife, in Northeastern Brazil, between June 2007 and October 2009 was carried out. The study analyzed socioeconomic factors, social service support and personal habits associated with nonadherence to antiretroviral therapy, adjusted by multivariable logistic regression analysis. The prevalence of PLWHA who reported irregular use of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) was 25.7%. In the final multivariate model, the irregular use of cART was associated with the following variables: being aged less than 40 years (OR = 1.66, 95%-CI: 1.29-2.13), current smokers (OR = 1.76, 95%-CI: 1.31-2.37) or former smokers (OR = 1.43, 95%-CI: 1.05-1.95), and crack cocaine users (OR = 2.79, 95%-CI: 1.24-6.32). Special measures should be directed towards each of the following groups: individuals aged less than 40 years, smokers, former smokers and crack cocaine users. Measures for giving up smoking and crack cocaine should be incorporated into HIV-control programs in order to promote greater adherence to antiretroviral drugs and thus improve the quality of life and prolong life expectancy.
PMCID: PMC4085845  PMID: 24626414
AIDS; Adherence; Antiretroviral therapy; Associated factors
4.  Associated factors for treatment delay in pulmonary tuberculosis in HIV-infected individuals: a nested case-control study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:208.
The delay in initiating treatment for tuberculosis (TB) in HIV-infected individuals may lead to the development of a more severe form of the disease, with higher rates of morbidity, mortality and transmissibility. The aim of the present study was to estimate the time interval between the onset of symptoms and initiating treatment for TB in HIV-infected individuals, and to identify the factors associated to this delay.
A nested case-control study was undertaken within a cohort of HIV-infected individuals, attended at two HIV referral centers, in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. Delay in initiating treatment for TB was defined as the period of time, in days, which was greater than the median value between the onset of cough and initiating treatment for TB. The study analyzed biological, clinical, socioeconomic, and lifestyle factors as well as those related to HIV and TB infection, potentially associated to delay. The odds ratios were estimated with the respective confidence intervals and p-values.
From a cohort of 2365 HIV-infected adults, 274 presented pulmonary TB and of these, 242 participated in the study. Patients were already attending 2 health services at the time they developed a cough (period range: 1 – 552 days), with a median value of 41 days. Factors associated to delay were: systemic symptoms asthenia, chest pain, use of illicit drugs and sputum smear-negative.
The present study indirectly showed the difficulty of diagnosing TB in HIV-infected individuals and indicated the need for a better assessment of asthenia and chest pain as factors that may be present in co-infected patients. It is also necessary to discuss the role played by negative sputum smear results in diagnosing TB/HIV co-infection as well as the need to assess the best approach for drug users with TB/HIV.
PMCID: PMC3490888  PMID: 22958583
HIV; Tuberculosis; Delay
5.  Risk factors for default from tuberculosis treatment in HIV-infected individuals in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil: a prospective cohort study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:351.
Concomitant treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection and tuberculosis (TB) presents a series of challenges for treatment compliance for both providers and patients. We carried out this study to identify risk factors for default from TB treatment in people living with HIV.
We conducted a cohort study to monitor HIV/TB co-infected subjects in Pernambuco, Brazil, on a monthly basis, until completion or default of treatment for TB. Logistic regression was used to calculate crude and adjusted odds ratios, 95% confidence intervals and P-values.
From a cohort of 2310 HIV subjects, 390 individuals (16.9%) who had started treatment after a diagnosis of TB were selected, and data on 273 individuals who completed or defaulted on treatment for TB were analyzed. The default rate was 21.7% and the following risk factors were identified: male gender, smoking and CD4 T-cell count less than 200 cells/mm3. Age over 29 years, complete or incomplete secondary or university education and the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) were identified as protective factors for the outcome.
The results point to the need for more specific actions, aiming to reduce the default from TB treatment in males, younger adults with low education, smokers and people with CD4 T-cell counts < 200 cells/mm3. Default was less likely to occur in patients under HAART, reinforcing the strategy of early initiation of HAART in individuals with TB.
PMCID: PMC3297544  PMID: 22176628
6.  An evaluation of factors associated with taking and responding positive to the tuberculin skin test in individuals with HIV/AIDS 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:687.
The tuberculin skin test (TST) is still the standard test for detecting latent infection by M tuberculosis (LTBI). Given that the Brazilian Health Ministry recommends that the treatment of latent tuberculosis (LTBI) should be guided by the TST results, the present study sets out to describe the coverage of administering the TST in people living with HIV at two referral health centers in the city of Recife, where TST is offered to all patients. In addition, factors associated with the non-application of the test and with positive TST results were also analyzed.
A cross-sectional study was carried out with HIV patients, aged 18 years or over, attending outpatient clinics at the Correia Picanço Hospital/SES/PE and the Oswaldo Cruz/UPE University Hospital, who had been recommended to take the TST, in the period between November 2007 and February 2010. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were carried out to establish associations between the dependent variable - taking the TST (yes/no), at a first stage analysis, and the independent variables, followed by a second stage analysis considering a positive TST as the dependent variable. The odds ratio was calculated as the measure of association and the confidence interval (CI) at 95% as the measure of accuracy of the estimate.
Of the 2,290 patients recruited, 1087 (47.5%) took the TST. Of the 1,087 patients who took the tuberculin skin test, the prevalence of TST ≥ 5 mm was 21.6% among patients with CD4 ≥ 200 and 9.49% among those with CD4 < 200 (p = 0.002). The patients most likely not to take the test were: men, people aged under 39 years, people with low educational levels and crack users. The risk for not taking the TST was statiscally different for health service. Patients who presented better immunity (CD4 ≥ 200) were more than two and a half times more likely to test positive that those with higher levels of immunodeficiency (CD4 < 200).
Considering that the TST is recommended by the Brazilian health authorities, coverage for taking the test was very low. The most serious implication of this is that LTBI treatment was not carried out for the unidentified TST-positive patients, who may consequently go on to develop TB and eventually die.
PMCID: PMC3223927  PMID: 21892936

Results 1-6 (6)