What you need to know:
- The United Nations Geneva hosted entity-based body, which is committed to revolutionising TB space to end the disease by 2030, notes TB deaths among people living with HIV increased for the first time since 2010, with 214 000 deaths in 2020.
- They say that the underfunding towards TB is bound to lead to an increase in mortality due to TB among people living with HIV in years to come.
Experts have warned of increased Tuberculosis (TB) deaths among people living with HIV for the first time in over a decade.
Stop TB Partnership warns that the trend is expected to continue if urgent investments in TB services are not met especially given the impact of Covid-19.
The United Nations Geneva hosted entity-based body, which is committed to revolutionising TB space to end the disease by 2030, notes TB deaths among people living with HIV increased for the first time since 2010, with 214 000 deaths in 2020. They say that the underfunding towards TB is bound to lead to an increase in mortality due to TB among people living with HIV in years to come.
“Before 2020, TB deaths among people living with HIV were declining.
In 2020, this decline was reversed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to reduced access to TB diagnosis and treatment services.
Worldwide, TB remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV,” they say.
Stop TB says close to 600 people living with HIV die from TB—yet most of these deaths could have been averted.
Dr Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the Stop TB Partnership, noted that it is so upsetting to see that HIV prevention and treatment extends people’s lives, only to see one in three of them dying because of TB.
“At the moment, people living with HIV face a triple burden of disease, threatened not only by HIV itself but also by Covid-19 and TB. We might not be able to prevent all co-infections, but we definitely know how to prevent, and treat, TB. Still, TB funding remains pathetically low compared to other disease areas, and insufficient even for diagnosis and treatment,” she said. The cost for treating TB is far too high for patients even here in the country. The most recently released national tuberculosis patients’ costs survey reveals that a patient can spend up to Sh25,874 while on a six-month treatment programme.
The cost is far higher for a patient with the drug resistant type that pays an average Sh145,110 while on a 20-month treatment.
Around the world, eight per cent of people with TB are also living with HIV. This proportion is highest in Africa and exceeds 50 per cent in parts of Southern Africa. Globally, about half of people living with HIV who develop TB are being diagnosed with and treated for TB. According to the latest WHO Global TB Report, in 2020, TB deaths increased for the first time in over a decade, going up to as high as 1.5 million.