Press statement

UNAIDS welcomes breakthrough TB diagnostic test for people living with HIV

GENEVA, 10 December 2010—The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed a new diagnostic test that can diagnose tuberculosis (TB) and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in less than two hours compared to the current standard test which can take up to three months.

The new rapid diagnostic test could result in a doubling in the number of HIV-associated TB cases diagnosed in areas with high rates of TB and HIV and a three-fold increase in the diagnosis of patients with drug-resistant TB.

Tuberculosis is one of commonest causes of illness and death among people living with HIV. TB and drug-resistant TB are especially difficult to diagnose in people living with HIV and many people die before the diagnosis can be confirmed and treatment started.

“This is a significant and welcome breakthrough for the response to HIV and TB,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “The new test offers increased hope that we can achieve our ambitious target of halving TB deaths in people living with HIV by 2015 and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living with HIV. This is an example of Treatment 2.0 in action.”

In a new UNAIDS Strategy 2011-2015, endorsed this week by UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board members, UNAIDS committed to halving TB deaths in people living with HIV by 2015.

See http://www.who.int/tb/features_archive/new_rapid_test/en/index.html for more information on the new diagnostic test.

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