Feature story

TB partners meet in Viet Nam

04 May 2010

20100504_TB_200.jpgPreventing people living with HIV from dying of tuberculosis is one of the 10 priority areas outlined in the UNAIDS Outcome Framework for the period 2009-2011. Credit: UNAIDS/P.Virot

The 18th Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board meeting is being held from 4 – 5 May 2010 in Hanoi, Viet Nam. The meeting will bring together UNAIDS and the Stop TB Partnership to strengthen their joint response to HIV/TB co-infection and to agree on a compact intended to halve TB deaths in people living with HIV by 2015.

‘One in four AIDS deaths is linked to tuberculosis. This compact represents an important milestone in ensuring that no person living with HIV dies of TB, a preventable and curable condition’ noted UNAIDS Deputy Director, Programme Paul De Lay

Every three minutes a person living with HIV dies of tuberculosis. Mortality rates have escalated (to an estimated 500,000 a year) over the past 10 years. The emergence of drug resistant strains of TB is a particularly lethal threat in populations with high rates of HIV infection.

Preventing people living with HIV from dying of tuberculosis is one of the 10 priority areas outlined in the UNAIDS Outcome Framework for the period 2009-2011. UNAIDS hopes to achieve this goal by ensuring an effective integrated delivery of services for HIV and tuberculosis as well as nutritional support in all settings.

Universal access and MDG targets for HIV and TB will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve without greater attention to marginalized and vulnerable groups, such as prisoners, drug users, women, and migrants, and the strengthening of a human rights approach to ensure equitable access and risk-reduction.

A wide variety of participants are expected to attend the meeting, including Ministers of Health of Viet Nam, South Africa and Myanmar, the Regional Director of the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region as well as high-level representatives from UNAIDS, the Stop TB Partnership and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Discussions will range from an overview of the TB epidemic in Viet Nam and the Western Pacific Region to a review of progress in the development of new TB drugs, diagnostics and vaccines.

The Board meeting is also meant to be a follow-up from the Beijing Ministerial Meeting held in April 2009 where ministers from countries with high burden of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) met to address the disease’s alarming threat. The 18th Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board meeting will review the progress made by countries since Beijing and recommend further actions to overcome bottlenecks and accelerate action.

The Stop TB Partnership is a leading public-private global health partnership, established in 2001, with the aim of eliminating tuberculosis as a public health problem and, ultimately, to obtain a world free of TB. It comprises a network of more than 900 international organizations, countries, donors from the public and private sectors, governmental and nongovernmental organizations and individuals.