HIV weakens the immune system which means that the body is not strong enough to fight infections and to stay healthy. That is why a person who is HIV positive is more likely to get sick with TB. It is very important to be screened for TB if you are found to be HIV positive. You may be given treatment to protect you from contracting TB (isoniazid or INH preventive therapy). However, it is possible to have TB without being HIV positive, and it is possible to be HIV positive without getting sick with TB. If you are found to have TB, you can be given medication to treat and cure TB, even if you are HIV positive. Remember: TB is curable!
- Take your medication as the doctor, nurse or counsellor says
- Eat as much healthy food as possible
- Sleep with open windows for fresh air
- Try not to drink alcohol or smoke
The TB germ dies very slowly. It will take at least six months for the drugs to kill all the TB germs. After a while, you may start to feel better, but it is very important to finish the treatment. If you do not take your pills every day the germs will become active again and they may become resistant to the drugs. This is very serious because you will need stronger medicine which has to be taken for a longer period to kill the new germs.