• Tuberculosis is an infection of the lungs caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
  • Every year 759 people get a TB infection
  • Complaints associated with tuberculosis are cough, fatigue, fever, weight loss and shortness of breath
  • TB is one of the leading causes of death in people with HIV infection worldwide




Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. The bacterium usually causes an infection in the lungs, but it can also cause an infection of the bones or kidneys. You can contract tuberculosis if someone with tuberculosis coughs in your direction or talks to you nearby. You can only become infected if you immediately inhale the bacteria. Tuberculosis can only be transmitted if there is open TB (if the bacteria lives in the lungs).

In the Netherlands, the bacterium almost no longer occurs. Here, TB is diagnosed 759 times a year. Internationally, however, there are still many cases of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is most prevalent in parts of Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.


Complaints that fit with TB are a lot of coughing, fatigue, fever, losing weight and being short of breath. People with a good immune system will have few or no complaints from TB. It can sometimes take months to years before you develop symptoms of a TB infection.

 Risk group

If you've been to countries where tuberculosis is common, such as countries in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, you're more likely to get tuberculosis. People with a weakened immune system also have a greater chance of getting tuberculosis.

HIV and TB

With an HIV infection there is a greater chance of getting a long-term TB infection, because HIV reduces the immune system. In addition, with an HIV infection, it is easier to contract a new TB infection.

TB is the most common cause of death among HIV-positive people worldwide. That is why it is important to test for HIV if you have TB. In 2019, in the Netherlands, 66% of people who contracted tuberculosis were also tested for HIV.
HIV indicator conditions are conditions or symptoms that occur more often in people with an underlying HIV infection than in people without HIV infection. Tuberculosis is one of these HIV indicator diseases. If you have or have had tuberculosis and have not been tested for HIV, it is advisable to ask your doctor or general practitioner for an HIV test. Do you find this difficult? Then you can download an interview card here that will help you to ask for an HIV test.