Jamaica To Develop TB Testing Center To Address HIV/TB Coinfection, Health Official Says
Jamaica will develop a tuberculosis testing facility at its National Public Health Laboratory because of the increasing number of HIV-positive people in the country who develop TB, Kevin Harvey, senior medical officer at the National HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Program at the Ministry of Health and Environment, said recently, the Jamaica Gleaner reports. TB test samples currently are sent to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre in Trinidad and Tobago.
"We have to strengthen the TB program because there is a linkage between TB and HIV," Harvey said. He added that the new facility will strengthen diagnosis and provide rapid treatment for people with TB. According to Harvey, Jamaica records about 100 TB cases annually, and between 30% and 40% of people diagnosed with TB also are living with HIV. Jamaica has recorded about 25,000 HIV cases, but approximately 15,000 people do not know their HIV status, according to the health ministry. Harvey said that HIV-positive people should "get tested for TB" and that all people with TB "should have an HIV test" (Francis, Jamaica Gleaner, 6/16).