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Integrating TB and HIV control activities

This policy brief, coordinated by Haileyesus Getahun on behalf of the Stop TB Partnership's TB/HIV Policy  Writing Committee, aims to help policymakers understand how to decrease the joint burden of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS. It provides guidance on which collaborative TB/HIV activities to implement and under what circumstances.

Evidence to show which integrated programmes are most effective is still limited, so the committee's advice is based on a combination of trial-based research and clinical and field opinion.

The committee first recommends establishing mechanisms for collaboration across HIV and TB programmes — for example, by setting up a national coordinating body that works at regional, district and local levels and is sensitive to country-specific factors.

The committee goes on to suggest that policymakers can lower the burden of TB in people living with HIV/AIDS by introducing preventive therapy and by improving TB screening among populations with high HIV/AIDS prevalence.

To lower the incidence of HIV in TB patients, the committee recommends introducing HIV testing and counselling services to all TB patients, providing advice on how to prevent HIV transmission, and offering antiretroviral treatment when necessary.

The committee stresses the importance of not simply creating new specialist or independent disease control programmes. Rather, it calls for policymakers to enhance collaboration between existing TB and HIV/AIDS strategies.

The TB/HIV Policy Writing Committee is made up of TB experts, analysts and researchers from around the world and forms part of the Global TB/HIV Working Group of the Stop TB Partnership.

Link to full article from the World Health Organization