A diagnosis of tuberculosis is upsetting – even though a strict treatment regime will usually beat all but the most drug-resistant strains. But when TB infects someone whose immune system is already compromised by the HIV virus, doctors begin talking of the “deadly duo.” In Africa, at least one person living with both HIV and TB dies every three minutes. Children with TB and HIV who have not been diagnosed and treated, rarely survive beyond their second birthday.
Through its HAART for Children campaign, Caritas is pressing for access to the medications required to treat both TB and HIV to be available in child-friendly forms. Caritas also wants government and the pharmaceutical industry to take determined action by providing diagnostic testing for children in poor and rural environments. Caritas also urges more effective help for adults with TB or those who are co-infected.
In Swaziland, TB causes 50%
In Swaziland, it is estimated that the TB and
Caritas members have long taken action on the ground to facilitate more effective prevention of TB and better care for people living with it. For more than a decade, Caritas Luxembourg has collaborated with the governments of Moldova and Tajikistan to implement a STOP TB Programme. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, approximately 60% of all TB treatment is provided by Caritas Congo and other Catholic Church-related structures. Caritas is one of the few humanitarian organisations working in North Korea and provides TB treatment for tens of thousands of children there.
Caritas Updates on tuberculosis
Caritas, along with UNAIDS, organised an AIDS consultation in Rome on 25 and 26 February to strengthen the joint response of Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs), UNAIDS and other agencies AIDS on a global level.
World leaders gathered at UN headquarters in June 2011 to assess progress in the global AIDS response. They noted that global HIV incidence was declining, access to combination anti-retroviral treatment was expanding, and a global movement had been mobilized to respect and protect the dignity of all affected by HIV.
Caritas calls on governments and pharmaceutical companies to develop “child-friendly” forms of medicines to fight both HIV and tuberculosis.