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Drug-resistant TB

What if I have drug-resistant TB and HIV?

If you have both drug-resistant TB and HIV, you will need to take the TB treatment as well as antiretroviral (ARVs) therapy. You will also be given another medicine to prevent chest infections.

Remember that taking all of your drugs every day for at least two years is the only way that drug resistant TB can be cured!

What food should I eat when I have drug-resistant TB?

It is important to get good nutrition if you are sick with TB. This means eating a balanced diet with a mix of different, healthy foods. Your nurse or doctor can advise you on what you should eat.

How do I take care of somebody who has drug-resistant TB?

  • It is important that a person with drug-resistant TB also spends time with family and friends
  • If you are caring for someone who is sick with drug-resistant TB, you should wear a face-mask
  • Visiting a person with drug-resistant TB, and taking care of them or sharing a meal is safe; as long as the person who is sick covers their cough and windows are left open to let in fresh air
  • It takes several hours of exposure to TB germs in a closed space to be at risk of catching TB.

What are the side effects of drug-resistant TB treatment?

Side effects can be serious. If you have any of the symptoms listed below, you need to tell your doctor or nurse immediately and they will change your tablets or give you other treatment for the side-effects.

How is drug-resistant TB treated?

It takes two years or more to treat drug-resistant TB. Some people stay in hospital for the start of the treatment, and others start at a clinic or with support from someone from the community.


Phase 1: First six months (Intensive phase)

You will get an injection and take at least four kinds of tablets every day. Once a month you will be tested to see if there are still TB germs found in your cough.

Phase 2: Next 18 months (Continuation phase)

How can you prevent drug-resistant TB?

  • Always wash your hands after coughing
  • Always cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it away into a dustbin.
  • Open the windows in your home because sunlight kills TB germs and fresh air can blow the germs away
  • If you have drug-resistant TB, make sure that people you spend a lot of time with (at home or work or school) are tested for TB at the nearest clinic.

How do I know if I have drug-resistant TB?


  • Coughing for two weeks or more (if you are HIV positive, a cough for any length of time)
  • Sweating at night
  • Having a fever for two weeks or more
  • Having chest pains
  • Coughing up blood.


How is drug-resistant TB spread?

  • Just like ordinary TB; when a person with drug-resistant TB coughs, sneezes, laughs or sings, the germs are released into the air
  • Anyone nearby who breathes in the air can be infected with drug-resistant TB.

How do I get drug-resistant TB?

  • If you have TB and you do not take your treatment as advised by the doctor or nurse, then the germs become resistant to the drugs used in normal TB treatment
  • You can also be infected by a person who has drug-resistant TB.

What is drug-resistant TB?

Multi drug-resistant TB (MDR TB) and extremely drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) is caused by the germ that causes normal tuberculosis, but that has developed a resistance to normal treatment and is more difficult to treat. 

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