Who calls for stronger collaboration between HIV/AIDS and TB programs in the developing world

The head of WHO's Stop TB programme has called for better coordination of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis screening and treatment programmes in the August issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

On the eve the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto, WHO's Dr Mario Raviglione has repeated warnings made by Nelson Mandela at the Bangkok conference two years ago that "We can't fight AIDS, unless we do much more to fight TB."

Now, a ten-year work plan to increase joint TB/HIV programmes in countries with a high burden of HIV-related TB has been published and is outlined in this month's issue. The Global Plan to Stop TB 2006-2015 details how collaboration will ensure 3 million co-infected will benefit from antiretrovirals.

Tuberculosis is a leading killer of people living with HIV and rates of tuberculosis are rising dramatically in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and other regions where the epidemic is fuelled by HIV. In countries with a high proportion of HIV-infected adults, tuberculosis is increasing by 7% per year on average. HIV infection also causes tuberculosis to progress more rapidly to disease.

In addition to carrying out research into new diagnostic and treatment options, "collaboration between tuberculosis and HIV communities to maximise access to existing, effective interventions must be our collective global responsibility," says Dr Raviglione.


Contact: Joe Santangelo

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