Xpert MTB/RIF increases timely TB detection among people living with HIV and saves lives

October 2014

Information note


People living with HIV (PLHIV) have more than a 20-fold increased risk of TB compared to HIV-uninfected people. (1) Diagnosing TB is a particular challenge among PLHIV who are more likely to have smear – negative pulmonary TB .This results in a delay in the detection of TB and in subsequent start of treatment. As a result, HIV-related TB deaths are a significant public health problem facing HIV-prevalent settings.

Compared to sputum smear microscopy, which has limited utility among PLHIV, Xpert MTB/RIF is able to detect more TB cases regardless of HIV status. For this reason, WHO recommends Xpert MTB/RIF as a primary diagnostic test for TB in PLHIV.