“The Alliance warmly welcomes today’s development as there is an urgent need to tackle the growing problem of multi-drug resistant TB which particularly affects people living with HIV,” said Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) report launched last week estimates that in 2008 there were between 390,000 and 510,000 cases of drug resistant TB including 150,000 people who died.
People living with HIV have weakened immune systems and so are more vulnerable to TB infection. The only vaccine currently available to prevent TB is a child immunisation one that is dangerous for HIV positive children.
International Development Minister, Mike Foster, said:
international community is serious about tackling HIV and TB we must
find a way to break this devastating cycle. That is why the UK is
supporting the discovery of a new TB vaccine that is safe for babies
born with HIV and why we’re scaling up our efforts to reduce the impact
of drug resistant strains of TB.”
What is also of concern is that WHO are unclear on the current global TB picture with no information from Africa where most people with HIV live.
“We have to ensure that people living with HIV can access the best drugs possible to treat this perfectly curable disease,” added Bermejo.
We must find a way to break this devastating cycle