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Indiana State Department of Health

Tuberculosis Home > Facts Sheet > TB and HIV TB and HIV (The AIDS Virus)

How does HIV infection affect TB?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus, the AIDS virus) infection is the single greatest risk factor for progressing to active TB disease if you have TB infection. HIV damages and weakens your body's immune system. If you are infected with HIV and with TB, you have a very big chance of getting TB disease. Your body's immune system is much less likely to control the TB infection.

HIV is transmitted through sexual contact and by injecting drug use among people who share needles and syringes. An HIV-infected woman can pass the infection to her unborn baby. If you engage in these types of risky behaviors, or if you think you might have HIV infection, talk to your doctor about getting an HIV test. If you are HIV positive and have latent TB infection, the sooner you start taking anti-TB medicine, the better your chances are to prevent the development of active TB disease.

If you have HIV infection, it is very important to get tested for TB infection. Anti-TB drugs can prevent or cure TB disease even in people with HIV infection. Also, if you are newly diagnosed with either latent TB infection or active TB disease, you should be tested for HIV.

Remember: Anti-TB drugs only work when you take them!