UNAIDS, WHO Call for Joint Treatment of HIV, TB That Could Prevent 500,000 Deaths in Africa Annually
September 21, 2004
Officials from the World Health Organization and UNAIDS on Monday called for the joint treatment of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, saying that combining testing and treatment of the two diseases could prevent up to 500,000 deaths in Africa annually, the AP/Yahoo! News reports. The organizations made the announcement at the opening of a two-day meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that aims to promote joint HIV/AIDS and TB treatment initiatives. According to UNAIDS and WHO, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is "fueling a massive" TB crisis that could result in one billion TB infections worldwide in the next 20 years, according to AP/Yahoo! News. An additional 35 million people may die from the disease if it goes unchecked, according to WHO. Currently, 8.7 million people are infected with TB and two million people die from the disease annually worldwide. TB is the most common infection and cause of death among HIV-positive people, according to WHO. An estimated eight million of the 25 million HIV-positive Africans also are infected with the bacteria that causes TB. Each year, 5% to 10% of the eight million co-infected Africans develop active TB, and approximately four million co-infected Africans will develop active TB over the course of their lives. Currently, 8,000 people worldwide die from AIDS-related causes daily, while an additional 5,000 people die from TB every day. The "deadly interaction" of the two diseases is "compounded" by drug-resistant strains of TB, Mario Raviglione, director of WHO's Stop TB program, said, AP/Yahoo! News reports (Mitchell, AP/Yahoo! News, 9/20). "We cannot talk seriously about fighting AIDS while ignoring TB," Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said, adding, "In Africa, TB and HIV collaborate to kill."
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.