International TB Day 2011
Message from UNAIDS Executive Director Mr. Michel Sidibé
GENEVA, 24 March 2011—I am pleased to see that growing collaboration between HIV and tuberculosis (TB) programmes is bearing fruit. Since 2002 there has been an 80-fold increase in the number of TB patients who were tested for HIV.
For TB patients who test positive for HIV, knowing their status will allow them to seek access to life-saving HIV treatment and care.
However, on this World TB day, I am concerned. We are seeing an emerging epidemic of drug resistant TB. It is a sobering thought that an estimated two million people living with HIV could die of TB between now and 2015, if urgent action is not taken.
The tools are now available to prevent many of these deaths––A faster, more accurate TB test has been developed––and access to antiretroviral therapy has been significantly improved. TB and HIV communities must continue to scale-up joint efforts to rapidly roll-out these services and save lives.
Let us not forget that HIV and TB are two diseases –– but we are talking about one life.
UNAIDS has committed to halving TB deaths in people living with HIV by 2015. I believe we can not only achieve this goal, but surpass it.