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Thread: TB prevention - INH cure

  1. #1
    I'm going through the USCIS medical right now. My PPD (TB skin test) turned out positive. It has turned out positive every time because I got a BCG vaccination (TB vaccination) when I was a baby. It is a standard in my home country.I was sent to get an x-ray done to see any scarring. I also have done that multiple times before and the result has always been negatine. The doctor hasn't got back to me with the x-ray results yet but she already told me that she recommends the INH treatment since I have been exposed to the bacteria at some point in my life (which the BCG shot will do to you). It is a 9 month treatment and the medicine has really scary side effects and also before I start taking the drug I have to go through a lot of tests for liver and lungs to make sure I won't die taking it :s. My point is that I don't wish to take the drug with such severe possible effects on my body if I do not have to. It is all preventive treatment. I am not sick with TB. After doing a week of reserch and calling multiple attorneys I'm not any smarter about knowing my options. Do I get to pass on the pill and still get accepted for green card (through marriage) or I have to **** it up and hope for the best if I have to take the drug?

  2. #2
    I'm going through the USCIS medical right now. My PPD (TB skin test) turned out positive. It has turned out positive every time because I got a BCG vaccination (TB vaccination) when I was a baby. It is a standard in my home country.I was sent to get an x-ray done to see any scarring. I also have done that multiple times before and the result has always been negatine. The doctor hasn't got back to me with the x-ray results yet but she already told me that she recommends the INH treatment since I have been exposed to the bacteria at some point in my life (which the BCG shot will do to you). It is a 9 month treatment and the medicine has really scary side effects and also before I start taking the drug I have to go through a lot of tests for liver and lungs to make sure I won't die taking it :s. My point is that I don't wish to take the drug with such severe possible effects on my body if I do not have to. It is all preventive treatment. I am not sick with TB. After doing a week of reserch and calling multiple attorneys I'm not any smarter about knowing my options. Do I get to pass on the pill and still get accepted for green card (through marriage) or I have to **** it up and hope for the best if I have to take the drug?

  3. #3
    Hi Kikku,

    I had that same TB shot when my family was living outside the US. And at 11 years of age, I started that "treatment" for it. The only side effects that we noted was weight gain. Because it's been so long since I went thru that treatment, back then they didn't check for liver problems or anything else! Till now, when given the skin test, the results are always positive and requiring an x-ray. I dont have an answer to your question on wether you can choose to not have it and still be able to qualify to immigrate, but having been thru the treatment I thought I would let you know about my experience. Good luck.

  4. #4
    INH or Isoniazid is one of the oldest anti-TB drugs in the market. Being so, patients under such drug regimen develop resistance or a host of side effects. Yet physicians nowadays normally don't administer INH alone, but in combination with Etambutol and Rifampicin (or they call it a shotgun 3-drug anti-TB regimen). Nine months of treatment? That's far too long. Your doctor might still be living in the 80's era. But, after everything is said and done, you can't adjust your status until you're cleared of the disease.

  5. #5
    To Rough Neighbor: According to the forms the clearance should be immediate even if the skin test is positive and the X-ray negative. It says in the action required section "The applicant should be encouraged to seek further medical evaluation for possible preventive treatment" I do not have the disease - active TB. I just have the bacteria in my body that was injected when I was vaccinated. Still confused...

  6. #6
    Yes, indeed, that's a common practice in other countries (not in the US) to have infants vaccinated with BCG as a form of TB disease prevention later in life. But the problem is that the injected TB bacteria shows up in TB tests. What a paradox, ha? What you have is called a latent TB infection that shows positive in skin tests. The problem is that you are now in the situation where the TB bacteria in your body need to be exterminated. Another problem is that it's difficult to apply and get an approval for a TB waiver for immigration purposes because it is now currently easily treatable, unlike AIDS. In the country where I grew up (a third world), every single doctor I know could eliminate all down to the single TB bacterium from your body in a matter of weeks, three months the most.

  7. #7
    To rough neighboor,
    After reading ur last post, I am thinking that I might still have that TB bacteria, as everytime I get skin test it still comes up positive. what do you think?

  8. #8
    To Rough Neighbor: Do you think I should ask the doctor for another treatment instead of the 9-month one? What are the shorter options? I should probably ask those questions from a doctor but she became really defensive when I asked more detailed questions about the treatment and it's effects on my body.

  9. #9
    Seek other opinion. I recommend, but not compulsory, that you see a doctor preferably one who was able to practice in countries where there's known prevalence of TB cases before coming and practicing here. Second opinion, it's priceless.

  10. #10
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Kikku:
    I'm going through the USCIS medical right now. My PPD (TB skin test) turned out positive. It has turned out positive every time because I got a BCG vaccination (TB vaccination) when I was a baby. It is a standard in my home country.I was sent to get an x-ray done to see any scarring. I also have done that multiple times before and the result has always been negatine. The doctor hasn't got back to me with the x-ray results yet but she already told me that she recommends the INH treatment since I have been exposed to the bacteria at some point in my life (which the BCG shot will do to you). It is a 9 month treatment and the medicine has really scary side effects and also before I start taking the drug I have to go through a lot of tests for liver and lungs to make sure I won't die taking it :s. My point is that I don't wish to take the drug with such severe possible effects on my body if I do not have to. It is all preventive treatment. I am not sick with TB. After doing a week of reserch and calling multiple attorneys I'm not any smarter about knowing my options. Do I get to pass on the pill and still get accepted for green card (through marriage) or I have to **** it up and hope for the best if I have to take the drug? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    What is your ethnicity? In some cases, there are false positive with the test, particularly Asian. Personally, I would consult another opinion as to what treatment, if any, should be made available.
    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

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