HIV and tuberculosis: Their connection, why they need to be tackled together
HIV targets the immune system and weakens an individual's defence systems against infections, including tuberculosis (TB), and some types of cancer.
New Delhi: An estimated 36.7 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2015 globally, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) report.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) targets the immune system and weakens an individual's defence systems against infections, including tuberculosis (TB), and some types of cancer.
Here's why HIV and TB are so closely connected and that their relationship is often termed as a co-epidemic.
- At least one-third of the HIV-positive people in the world have tuberculosis and half of AIDS patients die from TB .
- It is said that people living with HIV have a 26-31 times higher risk of developing tuberculosis as compared to those without it.
- In the last 15 years, the number of new TB cases has more than doubled in countries where HIV infections are high.
- HIV leads to TB, whereas tuberculosis is an infectious disease that is spread from person to person through the air.
- HIV is transmitted sexually or through contact with a contaminated person's bodily fluids, whereas TB is not.
The deadly combination of these diseases thus creates a perfect scenario for bacteria to infect the lungs and other organs, proving that they are far more destructive together than either disease alone. There is no cure for HIV infection, but tuberculosis is curable and preventable.