Standardized screening rule for TB in people living with HIV in low income settings

In 2009, 1.7 million people died from TB— which translates to 4700 deaths a day—including 380, 000 people living with HIV. TB remains the most common cause of death in people living with HIV. This week in PLoS Medicine, Haileyesus Getahun (WHO) and colleagues report the development of a simple, standardized tuberculosis (TB) screening rule for resource-constrained settings, to identify people living with HIV who need further investigation for TB disease. The results of this study, which included an individual participant data meta-analysis, suggest that in such settings, the absence of current cough, fever, night sweats, and weight loss (all inclusive) can identify those people living with HIV who have a low probability of having TB disease. Furthermore, any one of these symptoms can be used in resource-constrained settings to identify people living with HIV who are in need of further diagnostic assessment for TB.