Most people think of tuberculosis, as a serious disease that affects the lungs and other parts of your body, including your brain and spine. You can have TB germs in your body and not get sick yourself or spread the disease to others. But it's different for someone who is HIV-positive. When your immune system is weak, TB germs can multiply and cause symptoms. Taking steps to prevent this opportunistic infection and getting tested and treated for it are an important part of living with HIV. It not only helps control tuberculosis, but it helps prevent greater damage to your immune system.
How You Can Get It
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, travel through the air when you cough or sneeze. But you're not likely to get TB through a single contact. And you can't get it from sharing dishes or utensils, or by touching someone who has it.
Your chances are much greater if you're around an infected person often, like someone you work with or live with. Tuberculosis spreads more easily in crowded places with little fresh air, too. Talk to your doctor about whether it's safe for you to spend a lot of time somewhere like a hospital, clinic, doctor's office, nursing home, jail or prison, or a shelter for homeless people.