World Tuberculosis Day 2015
Event date: 24-Mar-2015
Reach the 3 Million: Reach, Treat, Cure Everyone
On this World TB Day – The International Community of Women Living with HIV is issuing a call to action to increase awareness and take steps to address the disproportionate impact that tuberculosis has on people living with HIV, and women and girls living with HIV in particular.
Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for one in four HIV-related deaths. For people living with HIV, tuberculosis is harder to diagnose, progresses faster, and is more likely to be fatal if left untreated than for those without HIV. At least one-third of people living with HIV worldwide are infected with latent tuberculosis. and are almost 30 times more likely to develop active TB than persons without HIV.
Around half of the HIV-related tuberculosis deaths globally have been among women but in Africa more women die than men. For pregnant women living with HIV, TB infection increases the risk of maternal and infant mortality by almost 300 percent, and in certain settings, TB rates are up to 10 times higher among pregnant women living with HIV than pregnant women without HIV. Further, studies have shown that tuberculosis among women living with HIV can double the risk of vertical transmission of HIV.
Fortunately, Tuberculosis is both preventable and curable. But there is more work to do- barriers that limit access for TB and HIV care, treatment, and support often have gender-related differences, sometimes with women experiencing more barriers and longer delays than men.
What can we do?
Take steps to protect yourself from TB!
Here are a few tips to help protect your self and here are some links for more detailed advice:
- Avoid spending long periods of time in spaces that are not well ventilated with anyone who has active TB;
- If you live with someone who has active TB, encourage the person to cover their mouth when coughing and to adhere to their treatment regime;
- If you are living with HIV you should discuss with your health worker whether you are eligible for TB preventive therapy, such as isoniazid;
- Open windows and curtains at home and in public places such as health care clinics, and encourage others to do the same.
Seek early diagnosis!
Early diagnosis means early treatment and better outcomes. It also means that you should take ART as soon as possible if you are living with HIV. Common symptoms of TB are a cough for more than two weeks (sometimes with blood), weight loss, night sweats and fever. If you have signs and symptoms of TB or have been exposed to someone who is sick with TB, seek information and support from health care workers about treatment and prevention.
Talk to your sisters living with HIV about TB.
As women living with HIV, we can make a point today to talk to our sisters and family members about TB and teach our family members about the signs and symptoms of TB.
Reach out to your local leadership and ministries of health and advocate! Ask them to:
- Promote gender-equitable access to TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care, and support.
- Ensure women living with HIV have a voice in interventions to integrate TB screening and treatment within a variety of care settings including mother and child health care services.
- Ensure that Women living with HIV are able to make informed decisions about their own treatment and care.
- Eliminate stigma, discrimination, and other barriers to ensure that women living with HIV & other marginalized populations can receive the care they need and are entitled to.
WHO, HIV-Associated TB: Facts 2013, available at: http://www.who.int/tb/challenges/hiv/tbhiv_factsheet_2013_web.pdf
WHO, Tuberculosis in Women Fact Sheet, available at: http://www.who.int/tb/challenges/hiv/tb_women_factsheet.pdf
WHO, Gear up to End TB brochure
A quick glance of WHO targets and actions to gear up to end TB infographic
For more information on World TB Day, you can visit the WHO website on http://www.who.int/campaigns/tb-day/2015/event/en/
Stop TB Partnership: http://www.stoptb.org