Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Today is World TB Day: AIDS/TB info

From ACTION, a sister organization to RESULTS which focuses on advocacy to control TB internationally...
TB is the leading killer of people living with HIV/AIDS. WHO’s annual report showed that 1.4 million people were found to be co-infected in 2007, double the number reported the previous year due to improvements in data gathering. Despite the very high rates of TB among those who are HIV-positive, many people living with HIV/AIDS lack access to TB testing and treatment. Currently, only an estimated two percent of people with HIV/AIDS have been screened for TB. This has especially dire consequences for sub-Saharan Africa where an estimated 1.1 million of the 1.4 million co-infected individuals live, and where more than half of TB deaths are among people living with HIV/AIDS.

"Living with HIV, Dying of TB: A Critique of the Response of Global AIDS Donors to the Co-epidemic," the report released by ACTION, found that institutions including the World Bank; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria; the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); and the UK Department for International Development (DFID); were all failing to adequately address this problem. In some cases, the institutions lacked the means to even monitor whether funding was provided for TB-HIV efforts, let alone the efficacy of such investments. Where funding had been allocated, the report found that resources were insufficient.

The growing problem of multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB has had a particularly devastating effect on those who are HIV-positive. There is a significant danger that the massive scale-up of HIV/AIDS related services, if not matched by a comparable investment in TB and TB-HIV efforts could actually be worsening the situation - as TB can spread rapidly in congregate settings like HIV/AIDS clinics. The need for universal TB screening and treatment, and effective infection control for people living with HIV/AIDS is urgent.

ACTION’s report recommends that all major HIV/AIDS donors increase their investment in combining efforts to fight both diseases, and institute practical measures to monitor progress.

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