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International News

Israel: Tuberculosis/HIV Treatment Given to Patients at State Expense

April 4, 2014

This article was reported by Jerusalem Post.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel's Health Ministry announced that any individual living in the country, regardless of citizenship, that has HIV, AIDS, or TB would receive free treatment to help alleviate the worldwide TB epidemic. Israel has one of the lowest TB rates in the world, and 90 percent of TB patients diagnosed in 2013 were born in other countries.

People with HIV are at a higher risk of contracting TB because their system is compromised. Nine centers throughout Israel diagnose and treat people with TB. Like the rest of the world, TB resistance to current antibiotics is increasing in the country. To combat further resistance and ensure adherence, health workers at the TB centers hand the TB pills to the patients and watch them swallow the medication. Resistance to the drugs is a result of patients that discontinue treatment once they feel better but before the bacteria is eliminated from their bodies.

There are an estimated 8.6 million people worldwide infected with TB, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Approximately 500,000 people were infected with multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) in 2012, but less than a quarter of them were diagnosed, said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's director-general.

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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