Fact Sheet: The Unhealthy Relationship Between HIV and...
Tuberculosis (TB) is the world's oldest and deadliest infectious disease, killing more people every year than any other infectious disease. Last year, TB killed roughly 3 million people around the globe and killed more women than all causes of maternal mortality combined.
TB spreads as easily as the common cold. When someone with active TB sneezes, coughs, sings or speaks, the infectious TB microbe is released into the air, and someone nearby can become infected simply by breathing. TB is spread with such ease that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that worldwide, one person is infected with TB every minute. However, being infected with TB does not mean being sick. Of the estimated two billion people worldwide who are infected with TB, 10% of them -- nearly 200 million people -- will become sick, and therefore infectious, with active TB during their lifetime.
The health of people infected with HIV is further jeopardized by the threat of TB. HIV weakens the immune system, thus serving as a catalyst in the progression of a TB infection to active TB.
...Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Throughout the world, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have reached epidemic proportions, with roughly 333 million new cases of curable STDs occurring among adults every year. In the United States, 12 million new cases of STDs are estimated to occur annually, 25% of which occur in young people between 13 and 19 years of age.
Like HIV, the bacteria and viruses that cause STDs are transmitted through blood, vaginal secretions and semen. People can contract any one of the known 25 STDs by engaging in unsafe vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person.
The interconnectedness of HIV/AIDS and STDs is increasingly becoming a topic of extreme concern for public health officials around the globe. Epidemiological data collected in the southern region of the United States reveals that the incidence of HIV infections among women of childbearing age parallels that of reported syphilis and gonorrhea cases. At the 12th World AIDS Conference in Geneva in June-July 1998, researchers presented evidence that suggests infection with an STD increases risk of HIV infection, especially in women.
While the picture of the relationship between STDs and HIV is grim, recent studies suggest that treatments for some STDs reduce HIV transmission. It is important to stress that this new evidence does not mean that people infected with HIV or an STD should not consistently practice safe sex nor does it imply that STD treatments cure HIV infections.
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This article was provided by American Association for World Health. It is a part of the publication Be a Force for Change.