Thailand To Offer TB Treatment As Part of HIV/AIDS Treatment Program
Thailand's Ministry of Public Health will offer tuberculosis treatment at no cost to the country's HIV-positive residents in an effort to reduce the number of people living with both diseases, Thailand's Nation reports. TB treatment will be included under Thailand's antiretroviral drug program that provides low-cost treatment to all HIV-positive people in the country (Nation, 8/3). The health ministry announced last month that the country plans to provide low-cost antiretrovirals to the more than 500,000 HIV-positive people who live in the country. Thailand already provides antiretrovirals at no cost to about 50,000 low-income HIV-positive people under a pilot program that provides basic care to all Thai people. The expanded program makes Thailand the first country in the world to give all HIV-positive residents access to antiretrovirals, according to the health ministry (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/15). Under the new treatment program, TB patients who test positive for HIV will be evaluated for antiretroviral treatment at no cost, and any HIV/AIDS patients who test positive for TB also will be enrolled in the TB treatment program. Approximately 55,000 people currently are enrolled in the treatment program, which lasts between six and eight months. "The more tuberculosis patients who are cured, the less chance there is that the disease will spread to the rest of the population," Deputy Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said. About one-third of the country's HIV-positive people have TB, which is about 12 times the rate of TB among HIV-negative people, Charnvirakul said (Nation, 8/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.