Distinguishing between histoplasmosis, tuberculosis (TB), and co-occurrence of disease is a frequent dilemma for clinical staff treating people with advanced Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. This problem is most frequently observed in clinical settings in countries where both diseases are endemic. It is also a challenge outside these endemic countries in HIV clinics that take care of patients coming from countries with endemic histoplasmosis and TB. The gold standard for diagnosis of both of these diseases is based on conventional laboratory tests (culture, histopathology and special stains). These tests have several limitations, such as lack of laboratory infrastructure for handling isolates (biosafety level 3), shortage of laboratory staff who have appropriate training and experience, variable analytical performance of tests and long turn-around time. Recently, novel rapid assays for the diagnosis of histoplasmosis and TB became available. However, this technology is not yet widely used. Mortality in immunocompromised patients, such as people with advanced HIV, is directly linked with the ability to rapidly diagnose opportunistic diseases. The aim of this review is to synthesize the main aspects of epidemiology, clinical characteristics, diagnosis and treatment of histoplasmosis/TB co-occurrence in people with advanced HIV.
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