Fighting HIV and tuberculosis together has been found to reduce deaths among coinfected patients by more than half, according to a study in South Africa.
It is estimated that about 70% of all TB patients in the country are infected with HIV, or about 250,000 of the 353,879 TB patients diagnosed in 2007.
TB is the most common disease occurring in the late stages of HIV infection, and many people are first identified as HIV infected when they develop TB.
The findings of the Starting Antiretrovirals at Three Points in Tuberculosis (SAPIT) study called for the accelerated implementation of routine HIV testing in TB treatment services.
“The study shows that integrating TB and HIV treatment and care saves lives,” says Salim Abdool Karim, professor of clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).
The trial was conducted at the CAPRISA eThekwini TB-HIV Clinic which is attached to the largest TB clinic in Durban.
Dr Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, said: “These important results show that a “two diseases, one patient, one response” integrated approach to TB/HIV treatment avoids unnecessary deaths from TB.”
Copyright PA Business 2008