WHO to Announce Combined Effort Against HIV and TB
Officials from the World Health Organization are expected to unveil a new effort focused on alleviating the "twin epidemics" of HIV and tuberculosis during today's session of the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, the Wall Street Journal reports. The TB bacterium is present in about 33% of the world's population, but people with HIV are 30 times more likely to develop active TB than HIV-negative individuals because of their weakened immune systems. Of the 8.2 million new TB cases in 2000, 9% were attributable to HIV. Governments and health organizations have largely treated the two epidemics as separate issues, but the new initiative seeks to coordinate efforts by expanding voluntary TB testing and counseling for people with HIV and by improving TB prevention efforts. The plan also seeks to increase HIV testing and awareness among those with TB. WHO officials also hope the plan will foster greater collaboration between existing HIV and TB programs and are seeking additional resources to fight the two diseases (Naik, Wall Street Journal, 7/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.