New Delhi: In a bid to tackle the rising number of HIV-Tuberculosis co-infection cases, health activists today asked the government to develop faster and better TB testing technology which provides early diagnosis.
The NGOs Global Health Advocates (GHA) and INP+ made recommendations to National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) which will device a National Strategic Plan in September for the fourth phase of National AIDS Control Program (NACP-IV) that will run from 2012 to 2017.
Seeking relief for millions of patients across the country, the NGOs suggested that there should be intense identification of people with HIV-TB co-infection and prevention of TB among People Living with HIV (PLHIV) through cross-referral.
"TB is the leading cause of death amongst PLHIV. Nearly 60 per cent HIV infected people die of complications due to TB infection," Mamta Jacob of GHA told a news agency.
The three major recommendations made by GHA and INP+ include intense identification of people with HIV-TB co-infection, developing faster and better TB testing technology which provides early diagnosis and prevention of TB among PLHIV through cross-referral, she said.
"Steps should be taken to introduce Isoniazad Preventive Treatment (IPT) for those PLHIV who are eligible and should be protected against becoming ill with TB," she said, adding that the health care provider should check the HIV or TB patient`s blood samples for any corresponding infections.
"We have recommended to come up with a single poly pill medicine on ATT and ART for patients suffering from HIV-TB co-infection," Jacob said.
India has 1.8 million new cases of Tuberculosis annually, almost one-fifth of the world`s new cases.
HIV prevalence among adult population in 2007 was 0.34 per cent and in 2008 it was 0.29 per cent. The number of PLHIV in the country was estimated at 2.27 million in 2008 while in 2007 it was 2.31 million.
The recommendations are based on a national consultation among over 700 representatives from 21 states who came together to discuss gaps in the program specific to TB-HIV co-infection. These representatives include members of the civil society, PLHIV and funding agencies, INP+ and GHA India.