Mumbai: Healthcare experts in the city are concerned over an increasing number of patients who have multi-drug resistant (MDR) HIV and MDR TB at the same time and which is making them resistant to any kind of treatment.
According to Dr IS Gilada, AIDS consultant, there are many cases where the patient is having MDR TB and NDR HIV at the same time and they do not respond to any kind of treatment. “What normally happens is that the patient first gets infected with HIV and after a while does not respond to standard treatment. And after a while the patient can get infected with TB since he is having low immunity and there are several cases where they do not take proper treatment and start defaulting on the drugs,” he explained.
This is a nightmare scenario for the doctors since there is almost no combination of drugs that have any effect of the infections, Dr Gialada said. The doctor said that he is seeing many such cases in the community and some are also admitted to various hospitals in the city. Even if there are some drugs that may have an effect on such cases, they are too expensive since they have to be imported from other nations.
Another physician, Dr Shyam Kamble from St. George’s Hospital, said that there are frequent cases of MDR HIV and MDR TB seen in the same patient and it becomes difficult to treat them.“Sometimes it is not just patients who have defaulted on their treatment, but even new patients who get this infection when they are exposed to the germs,” he pointed out. The only thing possible here is to treat the HIV first and try to improve their immunity levels, otherwise the patient may not survive, he said.
According to DrGilada, it is best if every patient suffering from HIV is also screened for TB so that the infection can be diagnosed and treated at an early stage. “The patients that come to us are routinely put on a preventive course for TB so that they do not get this infection along with having HIV,” he explained.
It is a known fact that around 25% of HIV patients develop TB at least once in their life, and of these around 50-60% develop MDR HIV and MDR TB since the medicines were not taken properly, he said. This makes it important for the treating doctor to ensure that patients suffering from HIV are screened properly for TB and medicines are started promptly to ensure that their condition improves as fast as possible.
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