Feature story

400 000 deaths among people living with HIV due to TB in 2009

11 November 2010

The latest WHO Global Tuberculosis Control Report 2010, launched today, highlights the need to reinvigorate efforts to prevent deaths from tuberculosis (TB) in people living with HIV. In 2009 there were an estimated 1.1 million cases of TB disease in people living with HIV, resulting in 0.4 million deaths. Yet TB is mostly preventable and curable.

According to the report, access to HIV testing, prevention, treatment and care for TB patients continues to expand. At least 75% of TB patients knew their HIV status in 55 countries, including 11 African countries such as Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Zambia.

There are other examples of good practice. Namibia has improved its monitoring and evaluation systems and has reported around 15 000 people living with HIV are on isoniazid preventive therapy (IPR) in 2009. This therapy can prevent and reduce active TB among people living with HIV.

UNAIDS and Cosponsors have set an ambitious target of halving TB deaths in people living with HIV by 2015. This report highlights the need for us to work together on bold actions to achieve this goal

Alasdair Reid, UNAIDS HIV/TB Adviser

"The findings in the Global Tuberculosis Control 2010 publication confirm that when WHO's best practices are put in place, and with the right amount of funding and commitments from governments, we can turn the tide on the TB epidemic," said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Stop TB Department.

However, globally only 26% of TB patients knew their HIV status in 2009. People living with HIV who know their HIV status can benefit from appropriate treatment. In 2009 only about 140,000 HIV-positive TB patients were treated with antiretroviral therapy, this is only about 40% of all people living with HIV co-infected with TB.

“UNAIDS and Cosponsors have set an ambitious target of halving TB deaths in people living with HIV by 2015. This report highlights the need for us to work together on bold actions to achieve this goal,” said Alasdair Reid, UNAIDS HIV/TB Adviser.