Can you imagine having TWO life threatening diseases? Well, for some in Cambodia, that is the case. HIV and TB are two very common diseases that plague Cambodia, as well as other countries. Typically, a patient would go through TB treatment for two months and then begin HIV treatment. However, a new study done by Dr. Anne Goldfeld, the Program in Cellular and Molecule Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston, and the CAMELIA (Cambodian Early versus Late Introduction of Antiretrovirals) shows that people with HIV and TB can benefit by being introduced HIV Treatment two weeks, instead of two months, after TB treatment was started.
Doctors and researchers used to believe that the two medicines too much for the body to handle. Combining these two treatments would include taking seven, yes seven, pills a day. In addition, the pills would actually work against each other, the TB pills would work up the immune system to attack the TB and the HIV pills would suppress the immune system to stop the HIV from getting worse. This would put a massive strain on the body. However, this new study shows that the combination of the treatments can actually benefit the patient.
As of now there is no specific research or answers as to why the combination of the TB treatment and the HIV treatment is so effective. However, the study’s results are definitive. The patients that started the HIV treatment two weeks after starting the TB treatment had a better survival rate than those that started the HIV treatment later, 33% greater, to be exact.
Although the study did not give the exact reason behind this beneficial combination, it opened the door to a multitude of possibilities for HIV and TB sufferers around the world.