Treatment for Latent TB Infection (LTBI)
People with LTBI have TB germs in their bodies, but they are not sick because the germs are not active. These people do not have symptoms of TB disease, and they cannot spread the germs to others. However, they may develop TB disease in the future. They are often prescribed treatment to prevent them from developing TB disease.
Because there are fewer bacteria in a person with LTBI, treatment is much easier. Usually, only one drug is needed to treat LTBI. The medicine usually taken is called isoniazid, or INH. INH has to be taken for 9 months. Children and people with HIV infection may need to take INH for a longer time. INH treatment fact sheet.
Treatment for TB Disease
A person with active TB disease has a large amount of TB bacteria in the body. TB disease can be treated by taking several drugs for 6 to 12 months. It is very important that people who have TB disease finish the medicine, and take the drugs exactly as prescribed. If they stop taking the drugs too soon, they can become sick again; if they do not take the drugs correctly, their TB may become resistant to those drugs. TB that is resistant to drugs is harder and more expensive to treat. TB treatment fact sheet.
There are a number of treatment options for HIV-infected persons with either latent TB infection or active TB disease. HIV TB treatment fact sheet.
After a person is referred to the TB Control Program, they are eligible for case management services. Case managers work with the patient's physician or healthcare provider to make sure he or she is receiving the proper medical care. Additional services include helping patients to find and access available services, picking up and delivering free medication to patients and finding, testing and treating individuals who have come in contact with the patient.
Directly Observed Therapy (DOT)
DOT is a treatment plan that involves watching the patient take his or her medication to ensure that the pills are taken in the right combination and for the correct duration. PDPH case workers personally observe a patient taking his or her medication to make sure it is taken on schedule. Directly observed therapy is offered at the Lawrence F. Flick Memorial Center from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. It is also available, when needed, in the patient's home. All services are free through the TB Control Program and the city's health centers.