To determine the frequency of nocardiosis in HIV-positive individuals clinically suspected of having tuberculosis (TB), 140 sputum samples were collected and processed by Gram stain, modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining and by culture on Lowenstein Jensen medium. Four (2.85%) patients were positive for nocardia by microscopy and five (3.6%) had positive culture for Nocardia asterioides. In areas where HIV-associated TB is common, some patients diagnosed as smear-negative pulmonary TB will actually have nocardiosis. Clinicians should be aware of this entity in HIV/immunocompromised patients with respiratory infections who fail to respond to antituberculous treatment.
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