According to UNAIDS, there are approximately 35.3 million people currently living with HIV and around 79% of these patients live in sub-Saharan Africa. Based on WHO publications, around one-third of HIV-infected individuals are also infected with latent TB. People who are co-infected with both TB and HIV are 21 to 34 times more likely to develop active TB than persons without HIV. Because of this, TB is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for one in four HIV-related deaths. Globally in 2011, there were an estimated 1.1 million new HIV-positive TB cases and approximately 430,000 people died of HIV-associated TB. Although the numbers of HIV-associated TB deaths were similar among men and women in 2011, in the African region more deaths are estimated to have occurred among women than men. People living with HIV are also facing the emerging threat of drug-resistant TB.
MCD International's Approach
In order to address the large number of TB and HIV co-infections, MCD International works to train local health workers in integrated treatment and helps set up counseling services that encourage patients to complete their treatments. MCD International’s projects also target at-risk and vulnerable populations through community outreach events and mass media campaigns aimed at reducing the spread of HIV and promoting care-seeking behaviors. In many countries, we work with pregnant women to help prevent transmission from mother to child by establishing support networks and training health workers and caregivers. Networks assist mothers in adhering to their anti-retroviral therapies which is one of the most important aspects of preventing mother-to-child transmission. Networks also provide accurate information and access to other mothers dealing with the same disease which serve to reduce the stigma surrounding these diseases. MCD International engages in capacity building alongside local non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations, and Ministries of Health in order to ensure that quality care is delivered to all patients.