HIV weakens the immune system, making the body unable to defend itself from illnesses. These illnesses are called opportunistic infections (OI). The most common OI is TB.
How can you catch TB? When someone who is sick with TB coughs or sneezes, then the TB germs are sprayed into the air. The germs can stay in the air for a long time. If you breathe some of these germs into your lungs, you will be infected too.
How do you protect yourself from catching TB? If someone is coughing, turn away and cover your nose and mouth. Open the windows in taxis, at home and in the classroom. Take a TB test, especially if you are HIV positive.
What are the signs of TB? Signs of TB are a constant cough with thick phlegm (mucus), a high temperature (fever), night sweats, losing weight, and feeling tired all the time.
Can TB be cured? Yes! TB can be treated and cured. It’s really important to take all your TB medication properly. If you stop taking your medication early, before all you pills are finished, you can get even sicker.
Most OIs can be treated. If you are HIV+ make sure you visit a clinic for treatment every time you feel sick. You are more at risk.