The World Health Organization released its’ thirteenth report on Tuberculosis control this week, which provides information and statistics related to the numbers of cases and numbers of deaths due to TB in 196 countries. The report stresses the link between HIV and TB, suggesting that roughly 25% of people who died from TB in 2007 were HIV patients. 9.3 million new TB cases were detected world-wide in 2007, and 1.4 million, (15%), occurred in people infected with HIV. This is a significant increase over what had been found in previous years, likely because aid agencies have increased the number of TB patients that they are testing for HIV.
It is not surprising that patients with HIV become infected with TB – when one considers that these patients sit side-by-side in health centers: the TB-infected individual coughing into the air, while individuals with a compromised immune system breathe the same air. This fact has led some aid workers to suggest that health centers in areas with high rates of TB and HIV be open to the air where possible.
The report also discusses progress towards Millenium Development Goals, as well as assessments of the “Stop TB Strategy”. According to the WHO, this report is “the definitive source of information about the national and international response to the worldwide TB epidemic.”