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  • Writer's pictureGlobal TB Caucus

On World AIDS day, the Global TB Caucus renews its commitment to stand with people living with HIV

On World AIDS day, the Global TB Caucus renews its commitment to stand with all people living with HIV and affected by TB, and to raise awareness on the impact that HIV & HIV/TB have on people around the world.

Today is World AIDS Day, an opportunity to show support and solidarity for people living with HIV (PLHIV). World AIDS day was first commemorated in 1988, and it was the first ever global health day. From that moment on, the HIV movement, led by PLHIV, has led the way for ground breaking improvements in health systems, new political commitments and leadership in research and development (R&D) in the field of infectious diseases, including for tuberculosis (TB). Nonetheless,TB remains the main cause of death among PLHIV and AIDS and it is a moral responsibility to tackle both diseases together.

Globally, there are an estimated 38 million PLHIV. Of those, around 1.7 million contracted HIV in 2019, because they did not have access to essential HIV services. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV and AIDS, including 690,000 people in the last year alone.

TB remains the leading cause of death among PLHIV, accounting for around one in three AIDS-related deaths. Last year, an estimated 10 million people developed TB, approximately 9% of whom were living with HIV. It is estimated that 44% of people living with HIV and TB are unaware of their coinfection and are therefore not receiving appropriate care.

The Global TB Caucus is committed to building political will to end TB and other infectious diseases, such as HIV, by strengthening health systems around the globe.

One of the Caucus objectives is to push for more investments in R&D for TB, to prevent people from falling ill and to provide better care to those who do, including PLHIV.

In addition, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Global TB Caucus commits to work with our members to ensure that legislating during an emergency doesn’t risk the progress made over the past years in terms of human rights and the right to health and healthcare, especially for the most vulnerable. The Global TB Caucus members will review and, when necessary, reform public health and related legislation to promote human rights-based, people-centered disease responses.

Unlike TB, the response to HIV and AIDS has had rapid progress over the years: screening and rapid tests have been developed for prompt diagnosis, new and effective drugs were put in the market, prevention therapy has rapidly increased globally. Because of these actions and due to the strong and committed leadership from people affected by HIV and civil society, AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by 60% since the peak in 2004, and the mortality declined by 39% since 2010. Despite that, it is still a global health emergency and efforts need to be put in place as a priority for the health of our peoples.

It is important that we fight TB and HIV together and that we prevent people from dying of preventable diseases such as these two leading infectious killers. The response to TB has historically benefited from the progresses in HIV and the Global TB Caucus shows solidarity with the millions of PLHIV worldwide and is committed to raising awareness to the importance of achieving the shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

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