Number of Programs To Treat People With TB, HIV Co-Infection Growing in South African Cities
The number of programs that are treating people who are co-infected with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS is increasing in South African cities, prompting HIV-positive patients with TB to seek treatment early enough for antiretroviral medications to be effective, the Washington Post reports. HIV-positive people who are infected with TB are more likely to seek treatment than those who do not have TB because the lung disease does not carry the same stigma as HIV. For doctors in the country, TB is "a vital warning sign" of HIV infection, and they are increasingly treating the two diseases together, according to the Post. For example, in Cape Town, South Africa, TB patients have become the largest source of referrals for antiretroviral programs, and the city aims to have every TB patient tested for HIV, according to officials. At a clinic in the town of Khayelitsha, which borders Cape Town, 62% of the TB patients also are HIV-positive. The clinic provides patients seeking treatment for TB with counseling and urges them to undergo HIV testing, and most of them agree to be tested. According to a survey, 41% of adults in Khayelitsha have had an HIV test, a proportion much higher than the national average (Timberg, Washington Post, 9/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.