Indian Health Minister Urges Country To Address HIV-TB Coinfection
Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss on Tuesday said the spread of HIV and drug-resistant tuberculosis is exacerbating the country's TB epidemic, the Press Trust of India reports. At a meeting on confronting HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, Ramadoss said HIV prevalence among adults with TB in the country is about 5.2%, adding that with about "5.1 million Indians living with HIV/AIDS, the problem of TB-HIV coinfection needs to be accorded due priority." Ramadoss also said that because HIV prevalence among TB patients in Southeast Asia is 3.9% -- compared with 33% in Africa -- it is not necessary to implement mandatory HIV testing for people living with TB. Such a requirement might "adversely affect the health-seeking behavior of TB patients due to the stigma attached with these infections," Ramadoss said. Currently, 26,000 people are receiving no-cost antiretroviral drugs at 52 centers, Ramadoss said. He added that HIV prevention campaigns launched in the southern states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu -- where a recent study indicates a 35% decrease in HIV prevalence among young adults -- would be implemented nationwide. More than 400 districts in the country are running HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns aimed at youth, according to Ramadoss (Press Trust of India, 4/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.