BACKGROUND: A study was designed to determine the extent of the interaction between tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus infection in England and Wales. METHODS: Data were obtained from the United Kingdom national AIDS surveillance and the Medical Research Council tuberculosis notification surveys in England and Wales (1983 and 1988). The proportion of patients reported with AIDS known to have had tuberculosis and the proportion of patients notified with tuberculosis known to have HIV infection were estimated. RESULTS: Of the 4360 patients with AIDS reported by 30 June 1991, 200 (4.6%) were in patients reported to have had tuberculosis. Only one of the 3002 patients (0.03%) reported in the 1983 survey of tuberculosis notifications in England and Wales was known to be infected with HIV compared with nine of 2163 patients (0.42%) in the 1988 survey. CONCLUSION: Although the reported number of cases of HIV infection with tuberculosis in this country is increasing it remains small. Complete reporting of cases of AIDS and notification of cases of tuberculosis are essential to enable the two infections to be monitored as the HIV epidemic develops. Special studies, such as those reported here, will need to be undertaken regularly to assess the future extent of the interaction.
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