Purpose of review: HIV infection is the main driver of the HIV/tuberculosis (TB) syndemic in southern Africa since the early 1990s, when HIV infection rates started to increase exponentially and TB incidence rates quadruplet simultaneously. Here, we discuss pathogenic mechanisms of HIV-induced CD4 T-cell depletion and their potential impact on immune control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Recent findings: Depletion of effector memory CD4 T cells from the air-tissue interphase, their dysfunctional regeneration and the preferential depletion of MTB-specific CD4 T cells from circulation and from the air-tissue interphase might be key factors for the increased susceptibility to develop active TB after HIV infection.
Summary: Early initiation of antiretroviral therapy or the development of an efficacious HIV vaccine would be the best options to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with the HIV/TB syndemic.
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