There have been reports of some HIV infected persons developing leprosy when started on Anti Retroviral Therapy. The reports caused fear among patients with HIV who have started Anti Retroviral Therapy.
It may be noted that all HIV infected persons have varying degree of immune deficiency. When they are started on ART, there is restoration of immunity leading to flaring up of previously dormant infections like TB, herpes etc. These infections respond to usual treatment and do not require discontinuation of ART. It must be clear that ARV drugs are in no way related to enhancing the risk of Leprosy.
Currently, there are nearly 42,000 patients on free ART in India under National ART Programme and in two years of roll out of ART there are no reports of any patient developing Leprosy after the start of Anti Retroviral Therapy.