The World Health Organization is joining partners in commemorating World AIDS Day 2022, and calls on global leaders and citizens to equalize access to essential HIV and TB services, particularly for key and vulnerable populations.
1 December 2022 | Geneva: Today WHO is joining partners in commemorating World AIDS Day 2022 under the theme “Equalize”, and calls on global leaders and citizens to recognize and address the inequalities which are holding back progress in ending AIDS, and to equalize access to essential HIV and tuberculosis (TB) services, particularly for key and vulnerable populations.
TB, a disease of poverty and inequality, is a leading cause of severe illness and death among people with HIV. TB is preventable and curable and people with HIV who do not receive appropriate prevention and care are at much higher risk of developing and dying from TB. Many of those who die from HIV-related TB are the most vulnerable populations who are not reached by timely health services, including services to address comorbidities such as undernutrition, mental health disorders and substance use disorders.
The past two decades have seen considerable progress in the response to HIV-associated TB. We have new TB screening and diagnostic tools, shorter regimens for TB prevention and treatment, as well as improved regimens for HIV treatment. The global target set at the 2018 United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on TB to provide TB preventive treatment to at least 6 million people with HIV by 2022 has been surpassed, with 10.3 million receiving preventive treatment since 2018. In addition, scale-up of the WHO-recommended package of collaborative TB/HIV activities is estimated to have saved some 9.4 million lives since 2005. Yet despite this progress, nearly half of people with HIV-associated TB did not receive care in 2021, and almost a third of deaths among people with HIV in the same year were due to TB.
Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme highlighted the importance of addressing inequalities and social determinants as part of efforts to end TB and HIV, “Ending TB globally will require universal and equitable access to TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment services. It is unacceptable that TB continues to be a leading cause of death among people with HIV. We need to identify and remove all barriers to access to TB services for people with HIV, and ensure that they all benefit from the latest tools and technologies for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of TB and other common comorbidities.”
The recently launched WHO Framework for collaborative action on TB and comorbidities includes actions to strengthen collaboration across different health programmes and sectors to ensure human rights-based, people-centred services. This will promote equity and ensure access to services for the prevention, treatment and care of HIV-associated TB, thereby reducing suffering and saving lives.
Source: World Health Organization