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Roommate with TB
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Roommate with TB

Back in November, a smelly, coughing old friend that lost his job & apartment came to crash on our couch for a couple of weeks. My fiance and I were only around for a few days of that, as we left on vacation. (We also have one roommate - fiance's best friend.) We returned to find that the crasher was in the hospital with active tb. (And still in hospital now, 4 months later). Fiance and I got tested right away. Negative.

Roommate kept putting off getting tested. My negative test made me feel better, but he was sick and coughing his head off. He said he wanted to wait until he was better to get both the test and a full physical. I have a feeling he was just scared, but feel that it is so unfair to put others at risk like that. Anyway, I thought about moving out until he got tested, but felt like an *** and finally let it go, just reminding him once in a while that he needs the test. He got better but still coughed, but then he was also smoking. Anyway, last week I finally drug him to the doctor. Positive test. We were at some crappy community health center and he says the nurse told him that he's not contagious but needs to take antibiotics for 9 months.

My problem: My wedding is in 12 days. He is the best man. He was told that he can't drink while on the antibiotics so is planning to wait to start them after the wedding. He will dance with my grandmother. He will hold my infant nephew. CAN THEY REALLY TELL THAT HE ISN'T CARRYING THE ACTIVE DISEASE FROM THE SKIN TEST? It will hurt his feelings so bad if I express my concern, but I CANNOT put my family at risk like that. He was asked to get a chest x-ray, but I have the feeling he'll put that off as well, esp since if it comes back funny, he would have to miss the wedding. Poor guy has had a tough year, too.

Help! What do I do? Am I worrying for nothing or SHOULD I be worried? And if I talk him into getting the xray, will it definitely tell if he has an active infection. And if it comes back with stuff in his lungs, does that even def mean that he DOES have an active infection, or could it just be from the smoking?

Thanks for any advice or info.

p.s. Fiance and I are repeating our skin tests today.
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You need to tell him that he needs to take his meds or no wedding for him! Exposing others to TB is very selfish,irresponsible  and dangerous of him to do, especially with older much more immunologically fragile folks such as your grandmother!
I can't believe that he is even toying with the idea of not taking his meds because he can't drink with them in his system (which is true BTW). I can't even say the words that I have on my mind here because they would be censored,
He needs to get an xray for one to see what is going on there..wedding or no wedding! A TB infection looks different than the stuff smoking does to the lungs on a xray. The docs will be able to tell if there is infection in his lungs. He also needs to give some sputum samples to check for the bacterium too (at least that is what they did to my patients when I was still a nurse)
That is just so irresponsible of him to NOT take care of himself, even worse, potentially exposing several people to TB.
You should be worried..TB is nothing to just fluff off.
Please do everything you can to get him to take his meds....IIt wouldn't hurt to talk to your doctor about this and what he or she thinks of the situation. He should be able to guide you as far as what to do.
I'm sorry that I sound so harsh. I am also quite fragile lung wise (have atypical cystic fibrosis along with a multitude of other issues) and get angry whenever a person who is knowingly ill with a cold or other illness comes to visit me, within days of exposure I too am sick which would have been prevented if they stayed home!!!!
Sunny

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