AIDS, Poverty Worsen Africa's Tuberculosis Crisis
March 24, 2006
Africa -- plagued by HIV/AIDS, weak health infrastructures and poverty -- is the main cause of an increase in worldwide TB infection rates, the World Health Organization said ahead of World TB Day on Friday. Of the 1.7 million to 2 million people who die each year from TB, 1.5 million are Africans. According to the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), more than two-thirds of people living with HIV/AIDS and TB are African.
At an AMREF clinic in the Kenyan slum of Kibera, nurse Winfred Nzioka said, "Tuberculosis is coming in as an opportunistic infection." "Our patients with TB/HIV normally deteriorate very fast," she said. "All the patients who've died here from TB were also infected with HIV."
Typically, TB treatment takes around eight months to complete. But not all patients complete the regimen, causing experts to warn that drug resistant TB is becoming a worldwide problem.
"We are doing all we can to make sure drugs don't develop resistance," said Joel Kangangi, head of WHO's TB program in Kenya. At present, surveys show resistance is very low in Kenya, he noted, adding that the country's free TB treatment program is making strides in controlling the disease.
03.24.2006; Jack Kimball
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.