The deadly tag team: AIDS and TB

HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are a common — and devastating — combination.  Here’s a summary from the World Health Organization’s page on TB/HIV:

HIV is the main reason for failure to meet Tuberculosis (TB) control targets in high HIV settings. TB is a major cause of death among people living with HIV/AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa bears the brunt of the HIV fuelled TB epidemic. The rapidly increasing HIV epidemic in other parts of the world could also increase the number of HIV-related TB cases. In order to control TB in high HIV settings, the DOTS [Directly Observed Treatment Short-course] strategy should be complemented with additional collaborative TB/HIV activities. These collaborative TB/HIV activities have the objectives of creating the mechanism of collaboration between TB and HIV/AIDS programmes, reducing the burden of TB among People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and reducing the burden of HIV among TB patients.

The WHO page also has links to a lot more information, including this FAQ sheet.  Below are links and excerpts from a few news articles dealing with TB and HIV coinfection

>> TB Prevention, Treatment Should Be Integrated Into HIV Treatment Programs, JAMA Study Says, Kaiser Network (July 26)
“The study proposes that increased efforts should be made to identify TB cases in HIV clinics. HIV-positive people and those living with them should regularly be screened for TB, the study says. The study authors also recommend that all HIV-positive people who do not have TB receive the antibiotic isoniazid to help prevent TB infection. Physicians also should consider administering antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive people at earlier stages of the disease to reduce damage to the immune system and reduce the risk of TB.”  Abstract of the study

>> AFRICA: TB failures threaten HIV treatment gains, IRIN/Plus News (Aug. 8)
“Tuberculosis (TB) is the biggest killer of people living with HIV in Africa, but only one percent of HIV-positive people accessing treatment were screened for TB in 2006, an oversight that activists say threatens to roll back the gains made in placing more than three million people on life-prolonging anti-retroviral (ARVs) treatment. […]

According to data from the World Health Organisation, globally, only about 314,400 people were screened for TB in 2006, 26 percent of whom were found to have an active form of the disease. HIV-positive people are 50 times more likely than HIV-negative people to develop TB, and without proper treatment, 90 percent of them usually die within months.

Despite these statistics, none of the three biggest AIDS donors – the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and TB, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the World Bank – have incorporated requirements for TB testing to be provided to people living with HIV in their programmes.”

>> KENYA: Lucy Chesire: “The three big scars in my life are because of TB-HIV co-infection,” IRIN/PlusNews (Aug. 8)
“Lucy Chesire is the coordinator of the Kenyan chapter of the non-governmental organisation, Advocacy to Control TB Internationally. After being diagnosed with HIV in 1992, she contracted TB and had to undergo a series of painful surgeries due to poor diagnostics. She told IRIN/PlusNews about her determination to help people co-infected with TB and HIV receive better care in the future.”

>> Targeted Action On HIV And Tuberculosis Needed To Reach Drug Users, Medical News Today (Aug. 6)
“To ensure all drug users, including those in prison, can benefit from TB and HIV prevention, treatment support and care, WHO, UNAIDS and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime have developed Policy Guidelines for Collaborative TB and HIV services for Injecting and Other Drug Users – An Integrated Approach. The measures1 aim to break down the barriers that stand in the way of better health, outline key interventions, and promote ways to improve coordination and planning across all those who interact with injecting and other drug users.”


~ by h.e.g. on August 11, 2008.

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