Alarming new data shows TB-HIV co-infection a bigger threat

Mar 24, 2009

The World Health Organization released staggering new data about the threat of tuberculosis and the toll it takes on people with HIV/AIDS today, in recognition of World TB Day.

The TB-HIV co-infection crisis is twice as big as previously thought, the new WHO figures show. In 2007, there were at least 1.37 million cases of HIV-positive TB—or nearly 15 percent of the total incident cases. That's double the previous WHO estimates.

"A catastrophe is unfolding," said Gerald Friedland, a professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University School of Medicine and a leading expert on the emerging threat.

In addition, the WHO data shows that drug-resistant TB is on the rise. There were more than 500,000 cases of MDR-TB in 2007, the WHO reported. And by the end of 2008, at least 55 countries and territories had identified at least one case of extensively drug-resistant TB.

In light of the new WHO figures and increasing concern about the threat of drug-resistant TB, leading physicians and scientists are urging the Obama administration to triple the U.S. donation to the Global Fund to Fight , and Malaria and to dramatically ramp up the U.S.'s own vastly-underfunded global TB programs.

Right now, nearly 60 countries are seeking new Global Fund grants for anti-TB programs. But the Fund, facing a $5 billion donation shortfall, may not be able to finance any of these desperately needed efforts.

Five world-renown experts on TB and are available to discuss the new WHO data—set to be released on March 24th, World TB Day. They can address the scope of the TB-HIV co-infection crisis and talk about how U.S. policy makers should respond.

Tuberculosis is sometimes a forgotten and neglected disease. But an estimated one-third of the world's population is infected with the that causes TB, and the disease kills nearly 1.7 million people each year.

Now, virulent new drug-resistant strains of TB are on the rise across the globe. HIV-positive patients are highly vulnerable to TB, because of their weakened immune systems, and tuberculosis is now the No. 1 killer of people with HIV.

These twin epidemics present a stark new global health threat and raise the prospect of a global pandemic of extensively-drug-resistant TB, which is extremely difficult to treat.

The new WHO figures come amid deep concern among global health advocates that the Obama administration will flatline vital HIV/AIDS and TB programs, as the global recession deepens. The president is expected to release his detailed request for global health and other programs in the coming weeks. Advocates are urging full funding for PEPFAR, so the initiative can tackle the growing crisis of HIV-TB co-infection, and a tripling of the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Source: Infectious Diseases Society of America

Explore further: German medics report on drug success for Ebola patient

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

HIV/AIDS linked to drug resistant TB

Nov 16, 2006

U.S. scientists say a highly drug-resistant form of tuberculosis has been linked to HIV/AIDS in a study conducted in rural South Africa.

Researchers urge integrating TB into HIV care

Jul 22, 2008

In resource-limited settings where tuberculosis is a major cause of mortality among HIV patients and where a multidrug-resistant TB epidemic is emerging, researchers are pressing for approaches to integrate TB prevention ...

ID, HIV experts urge more resources for TB

Mar 20, 2008

In honor of World TB Day 2008 (March 24), the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the HIVMA Medicine Association (HIVMA) are urging U.S. policymakers to step up the fight against tuberculosis by committing substantial ...

Drug-resistant TB on rise in Africa

Nov 10, 2006

Drug-resistant tuberculosis strains in Africa could kill millions of people and render useless expensive drugs protecting HIV-infected patients from TB.

WHO warns of drug-resistant TB

Sep 06, 2006

The World Health Organization in Switzerland has warned of a new strain of tuberculosis that is rapidly spreading and cannot be treated with current drugs.

Recommended for you

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

10 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

10 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

13 hours ago

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

On the environmental trail of food pathogens

14 hours ago

Tracking one of the deadliest food contamination organisms through produce farms and natural environments alike, Cornell microbiologists are showing how to use big datasets to predict where the next outbreak could start.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.