Vladyslav* first tested positive for HIV in late 2012. At the time of his diagnosis, his immune system was already extremely compromised, which placed him at risk for numerous opportunistic infections. Of particular concern to Vladyslav was the fact that his wife was infected with tuberculosis (TB).
When Vladyslav developed a cough that persisted for more than three weeks, he visited his infectious disease specialist, who discovered that Vladyslav had also been suffering from a low-grade fever. Recognizing these symptoms, Vladyslav’s doctor suspected TB.
Vladyslav underwent testing, which confirmed inflammation and TB. He was immediately referred to a TB specialist who confirmed Vladyslav’s diagnosis and started him on anti-TB medications and antiretroviral treatment, effectively saving his life.
Improving access to HIV/TB services for patients like Vladyslav is one of the primary goals of the USAID-funded Strengthening Tuberculosis Control in Ukraine project (STbCU). The project promotes rapid clinical screening and accurate laboratory diagnosis of TB. It aims to establish effective referrals and integrate services such as TB prophylaxis, TB treatment and antiretroviral treatment.
The project also works to improve broader aspects of TB care, making health-care workers alert to the risks of TB in their patients (especially HIV-positive patients), training health-care professionals on clinical signs and symptoms of TB, and promoting high levels of treatment adherence among TB patients.
Quick diagnosis and stringent adherence to treatment give patients a better chance of treating tuberculosis. The USAID STbCU project, which runs from April 2012 through April 2017, helps doctors better identify this disease and provide more effective treatments for TB/HIV co-infected patients.
Thanks to the vigilant care and attention of his doctors, Vladyslav is following his TB drug regimen and is expected to finish the treatment successfully.
"I am grateful to the doctors for starting my treatment quickly and for their constant support," he said. "I don’t think I could make myself finish the entire TB treatment if it weren’t for them."
*Full name withheld for privacy reasons.
Last updated: April 17, 2014