Tuberculosis Is Now a Bigger Threat Than HIV/AIDS

The World Health Organization just published its annual tuberculosis report, and the document contains some grim findings, the most important of which is that tuberculosis has knocked HIV out of the top spot as the world’s number one infectious disease killer. A variety of findings in the document provide important context when it comes to understanding the evolution of tuberculosis rates, including who is getting infected and how, and how the infectious disease is being treated. Medical researchers working on treatment options and an eventual cure for tuberculosis need this kind of surveillance information to develop the best angle of attack. There is one bright spot in the report: Overall deaths are down, illustrating that the international effort to fight the infectious disease is clearly effective.

Nearly 1.5 million people worldwide died of tuberculosis in 2014, and roughly 10 percent of them were children. Almost a third of tuberculosis cases also involve coinfection with HIV, which is a known and important issue. When people contract HIV, their weakened immune systems make them more susceptible to other illnesses, so if tuberculosis is endemic to an area, these patients can be at considerable risk. The problem can be compounded when people are hospitalized, as they may acquire infections while in clinical care if a facility doesn’t exercise reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of infection. The HIV/TB link is an issue that many nations are struggling with, including Haiti and Russia. Both countries have overloaded health care systems, and though Haiti was starting to make gains on HIV in the early 2000s, the devastating earthquake set the country’s progress back considerably.

Drug resistance is also an important finding in the investigation by the WHO — PBS recently explored the subject on its award-winning documentary series Frontline. Some countries are dealing with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, known as MDR TB, but a more sinister cousin is emerging in the form of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis or XDR TB. Patients with MDR TB may go through multiple courses of different medications to find a treatment regimen that works, while those with XDR TB can be functionally untreatable, depending on where they are and what kinds of resources are available. In strained hospitals, especially in rural areas, care providers may only be able to focus on providing basic treatment.

The development of drug resistance occurs for a variety of reasons, of which the most prominent is difficulty when it comes to completing courses of treatment. Some patients don’t finish their medications because they begin to feel better and assume they don’t need them, while others cannot afford to finish out their drugs, or have trouble finding them because pharmacies can’t keep them in stock or they’re on the move. Individual hospitals can struggle to keep tuberculosis drugs in stock when a large number of patients are battling tuberculosis infections, especially if they’re also managing patients with HIV and other pressing health conditions — like malnutrition, another common problem for patients in communities with a severe tuberculosis problem. Some tuberculosis therapies take two or more years to complete and it is difficult to adhere to such a long treatment regimen.

While this infamous pulmonary condition is often associated in the mind with the Global South, it’s not just a problem in places like India and some African nations. Russia’s TB epidemic shows that it’s a problem in the West, and even in the heart of Britain, people are grappling with rising TB rates. In fact, recent health surveys indicate that some districts of London have a tuberculosis infection rate that’s actually higher than nations with very poor health care systems. One critical finding of the surveys was that TB rates are on the rise among those born in Britain, while they’re falling among migrants and refugees — in other words, this is not a disease brought to England’s shores by outsiders, despite popular rhetoric.

WHO disease surveillance is an important part of the public health landscape. The newest data on TB suggest that the global effort on the illness is not working, and medical researchers as well as government agencies and NGOs need to take different tactics. Among the most important may be the dedication of more funds, as the world is making considerable progress on HIV with the assistance of huge funding pushes, but tuberculosis gets a much smaller percentage of available disease research, treatment and prevention funds. These include not only a greater range of tuberculosis drugs and more availability of such medications, but supports to address faltering health infrastructure in some nations and to address HIV rates. TB, often considered a disease of poverty, also illustrates the need to fight global poverty; many patients are put at risk because of their socioeconomic status and seek treatment later because they fear they won’t be able to afford it. While the fall in the fatality rate is cause for celebration, the world has a long way to go before it can declare victory on one of the most infamous infectious illnesses in history.

Photo credit: Yale Rosen

65 comments

Helena A.
Helena A.11 months ago

Before now, I had suffered from HIV/AIDS disease for 3 years and had constant pain, especially in my body. The Virus circulated all over my body system and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the cure for my HIV, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from HIV by a herbal doctor called DrOhiole and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to DrOhiole telling him about my HIV/AIDS he told me not to worry anymore that i will be fine. we discussed further and gave instructions to me and i followed.
I didn't believe him, until i received the package of some herbal stuffs, roots and herbs and some herbal soap and a written note he sent to me via DHL delivery service, i was applying the various remedies as he wrote on he note.
5days later, i noticed that there was a positive change going on in my body system. Gradually i was taking the cure and now, i am very healthy again. Even the test now shows negative.
I promised DrOhiole that i will always testify about his cure.
send an email to him at: dr.ohiolespellhome@gmail.com

SEND
Helena A.
Helena A.11 months ago

Before now, I had suffered from HIV/AIDS disease for 3 years and had constant pain, especially in my body. The Virus circulated all over my body system and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the cure for my HIV, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from HIV by a herbal doctor called DrOhiole and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to DrOhiole telling him about my HIV/AIDS he told me not to worry anymore that i will be fine. we discussed further and gave instructions to me and i followed.
I didn't believe him, until i received the package of some herbal stuffs, roots and herbs and some herbal soap and a written note he sent to me via DHL delivery service, i was applying the various remedies as he wrote on he note.
5days later, i noticed that there was a positive change going on in my body system. Gradually i was taking the cure and now, i am very healthy again. Even the test now shows negative.
I promised DrOhiole that i will always testify about his cure.
send an email to him at: dr.ohiolespellhome@gmail.com

SEND
Helena A.
Helena A.11 months ago

Before now, I had suffered from HIV/AIDS disease for 3 years and had constant pain, especially in my body. The Virus circulated all over my body system and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the cure for my HIV, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from HIV by a herbal doctor called DrOhiole and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to DrOhiole telling him about my HIV/AIDS he told me not to worry anymore that i will be fine. we discussed further and gave instructions to me and i followed.
I didn't believe him, until i received the package of some herbal stuffs, roots and herbs and some herbal soap and a written note he sent to me via DHL delivery service, i was applying the various remedies as he wrote on he note.
5days later, i noticed that there was a positive change going on in my body system. Gradually i was taking the cure and now, i am very healthy again. Even the test now shows negative.
I promised DrOhiole that i will always testify about his cure.
send an email to him at: dr.ohiolespellhome@gmail.com

SEND
Helena A.
Helena A.11 months ago

Before now, I had suffered from HIV/AIDS disease for 3 years and had constant pain, especially in my body. The Virus circulated all over my body system and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the cure for my HIV, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from HIV by a herbal doctor called DrOhiole and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to DrOhiole telling him about my HIV/AIDS he told me not to worry anymore that i will be fine. we discussed further and gave instructions to me and i followed.
I didn't believe him, until i received the package of some herbal stuffs, roots and herbs and some herbal soap and a written note he sent to me via DHL delivery service, i was applying the various remedies as he wrote on he note.
5days later, i noticed that there was a positive change going on in my body system. Gradually i was taking the cure and now, i am very healthy again. Even the test now shows negative.
I promised DrOhiole that i will always testify about his cure.
send an email to him at: dr.ohiolespellhome@gmail.com

SEND
Helena A.
Helena A.11 months ago

Before now, I had suffered from HIV/AIDS disease for 3 years and had constant pain, especially in my body. The Virus circulated all over my body system and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the cure for my HIV, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from HIV by a herbal doctor called DrOhiole and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to DrOhiole telling him about my HIV/AIDS he told me not to worry anymore that i will be fine. we discussed further and gave instructions to me and i followed.
I didn't believe him, until i received the package of some herbal stuffs, roots and herbs and some herbal soap and a written note he sent to me via DHL delivery service, i was applying the various remedies as he wrote on he note.
5days later, i noticed that there was a positive change going on in my body system. Gradually i was taking the cure and now, i am very healthy again. Even the test now shows negative.
I promised DrOhiole that i will always testify about his cure.
send an email to him at: dr.ohiolespellhome@gmail.com

SEND
Helena A.
Helena A.11 months ago

Before now, I had suffered from HIV/AIDS disease for 3 years and had constant pain, especially in my body. The Virus circulated all over my body system and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the cure for my HIV, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from HIV by a herbal doctor called DrOhiole and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to DrOhiole telling him about my HIV/AIDS he told me not to worry anymore that i will be fine. we discussed further and gave instructions to me and i followed.
I didn't believe him, until i received the package of some herbal stuffs, roots and herbs and some herbal soap and a written note he sent to me via DHL delivery service, i was applying the various remedies as he wrote on he note.
5days later, i noticed that there was a positive change going on in my body system. Gradually i was taking the cure and now, i am very healthy again. Even the test now shows negative.
I promised DrOhiole that i will always testify about his cure.
send an email to him at: dr.ohiolespellhome@gmail.com

SEND
Helena A.
Helena A.11 months ago

Before now, I had suffered from HIV/AIDS disease for 3 years and had constant pain, especially in my body. The Virus circulated all over my body system and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the cure for my HIV, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from HIV by a herbal doctor called DrOhiole and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to DrOhiole telling him about my HIV/AIDS he told me not to worry anymore that i will be fine. we discussed further and gave instructions to me and i followed.
I didn't believe him, until i received the package of some herbal stuffs, roots and herbs and some herbal soap and a written note he sent to me via DHL delivery service, i was applying the various remedies as he wrote on he note.
5days later, i noticed that there was a positive change going on in my body system. Gradually i was taking the cure and now, i am very healthy again. Even the test now shows negative.
I promised DrOhiole that i will always testify about his cure.
send an email to him at: dr.ohiolespellhome@gmail.com

SEND
Helena A.
Helena A.11 months ago

Before now, I had suffered from HIV/AIDS disease for 3 years and had constant pain, especially in my body. The Virus circulated all over my body system and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the cure for my HIV, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from HIV by a herbal doctor called DrOhiole and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to DrOhiole telling him about my HIV/AIDS he told me not to worry anymore that i will be fine. we discussed further and gave instructions to me and i followed.
I didn't believe him, until i received the package of some herbal stuffs, roots and herbs and some herbal soap and a written note he sent to me via DHL delivery service, i was applying the various remedies as he wrote on he note.
5days later, i noticed that there was a positive change going on in my body system. Gradually i was taking the cure and now, i am very healthy again. Even the test now shows negative.
I promised DrOhiole that i will always testify about his cure.
send an email to him at: dr.ohiolespellhome@gmail.com

SEND
Helena A.
Helena A.11 months ago

Before now, I had suffered from HIV/AIDS disease for 3 years and had constant pain, especially in my body. The Virus circulated all over my body system and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i search on the internet if i could get any information concerning the cure for my HIV, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from HIV by a herbal doctor called DrOhiole and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to DrOhiole telling him about my HIV/AIDS he told me not to worry anymore that i will be fine. we discussed further and gave instructions to me and i followed.
I didn't believe him, until i received the package of some herbal stuffs, roots and herbs and some herbal soap and a written note he sent to me via DHL delivery service, i was applying the various remedies as he wrote on he note.
5days later, i noticed that there was a positive change going on in my body system. Gradually i was taking the cure and now, i am very healthy again. Even the test now shows negative.
I promised DrOhiole that i will always testify about his cure.
send an email to him at: dr.ohiolespellhome@gmail.com

SEND
Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND