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Can tuberculosis get treated in three months?

Q: I am a 29 years old male married for the last six years. My wife is having tubal blockage. We had gone for In vitro fertilisation (IVF) two years back but did not succeed. Some three and a half months back, I came to know that my wife had endometrioses tuberculosis (TB). The doctor prescribed her AK4 tablets. Some fifteen days back, we went for another TB test, which has come out to be negative. I have heard that TB takes almost 6-9 months to get completely cured. Then how come my wife got treated within three months?

A:It is not clear from the description provided what was the test done to diagnose Tuberculosis. Diagnosis of TB relies on a number of investigations such as histopathology (done after a biopsy), TB culture, PCR. Generally treatment of TB is for a minimum period of 6 months. Some tests such as culture (which detects live bacteria) may become negative even 2 weeks after commencement of effective treatment, whereas tests such as PCR may be positive for some more time depending on the sensitivity of the test, the initial bacterial load in the specimen, and the efficacy of treatment.

Treatment should be continued as advised by the physician responsible for the care. Generally, duration of treatment is decided based on the diagnosis, and not based on a result of a single test. Sexual transmission of TB is a relatively rare incident. The chances of transmission are further reduced if the patient is on appropriate treatment (for at least 2 weeks) and uses barrier contraception in the initial few weeks of treatment (at least for the first couple of weeks).

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