Africa's HIV/AIDS epidemic could fuel deaths from XDR-TB

Africa's HIV/AIDS epidemic could fuel deaths from XDR-TB -- tuberculosis that is resistant to first- and second-line drugs -- which has resulted in the deaths of least 74 people in South Africa since January 2005, World Health Organization officials said on Tuesday, Reuters reports (McGregor, Reuters, 10/17).

XDR-TB first appeared among HIV-positive people in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, according to a study presented in August at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/18).

According to experts attending a two-day workshop on XDR-TB and HIV in Johannesburg, South Africa, this week, HIV/AIDS could cause an acceleration of XDR-TB infections and create an uncontrollable epidemic unless control measures are intensified (Dlamini/Dube, BuaNews, 10/17).

"The XDR-TB crisis will not in most parts of the world be solved unless HIV is properly considered," Teguest Guerma of WHO's HIV/AIDS Department said, adding, "Underlying HIV will add significant challenges to the clinical response" (Reuters, 10/17).

Guerma called for HIV and TB programs to have a "close and a real collaboration" (BuaNews, 10/17).

To boost funding to address the XDR-TB outbreak, representatives from the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria plan to redirect current funds to XDR-TB control efforts, and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is considering a similar funding shift, Paul Nunn, coordinator of WHO's TB drug-resistance unit, said.

South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang invited government representatives from Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, as well as WHO officials and scientists, to attend the two-day workshop (Reuters, 10/17).

Kaisernetwork.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at the The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2006 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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