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Antibiotic Cuts Deaths, Hospitalizations in HIV-Infected Africans With TB

July 02, 1998

An inexpensive antibiotic already widely used in the United States can sharply reduce deaths and hospitalizations in HIV-positive Africans who contract tuberculosis, according to a joint study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ivory Coast Ministry of Health. A combination of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole is commonly used to prevent pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in the United States, but its use is rare in Africa.

Dr. Madeleine Sassan-Morokro of the Health Ministry reported at the AIDS Congress that use of the drug combination in addition to conventional TB treatment produced a 48% reduction in deaths and a 44% reduction in hospitalizations, compared to those who received only conventional care. She speculated that the drugs prevent toxoplasmosis, salmonellosis, pneumococcal pneumonia and bacteremia, all of which are common among HIV-positive individuals with tuberculosis.

Reported from Geneva by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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