Integrating TB and HIV Care
Despite the fact that tuberculosis (TB) is curable and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is treatable, 350,000 people co-infected with the two diseases died in 2010, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). For most healthy people, the risk of developing active TB disease is very low, but, for people with HIV, the risk is 20-30 times higher because HIV weakens the immune defence system. The two diseases are closely linked because TB is frequently the first opportunistic infection in people living with HIV (PLH). Globally, millions of people infected with HIV are also at risk of developing TB. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), TB caused one in four HIV/AIDS-related deaths in 2010. Each year an estimated one million people (around 80% of whom live in sub Saharan Africa) need simultaneous treatment for both TB and HIV. Caring for them is one of the major challenges facing health care systems in the limited-resource settings with the highest burdens of these closely linked diseases. The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease ( The Union ) has been working with TB and AIDS control programmes in Africa and Asia since 2004 to mitigate this dual burden of disease by helping health care providers collaborate effectively at every level of the health care system. Using general health services, the Integrated HIV Care for TB Patients Living with HIV/AIDS (IHC) Initiative has screened and treated thousands of patients in Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Myanmar.