With Tuberculosis (TB) estimated to infect around 781 out of every 100 000 South Africans, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) are currently at the highest risk of both contracting and dying of this condition.
This is according to Dr. Nic de Jongh, Chief Scientific Officer at Cipla, who says there is a dire need to increase both awareness and action around this condition in the country. As part of this goal, Cipla has pioneered a new adaptive solution for the prevention of TB, the largest contributor to mortality in PLHIV.
“The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Global TB Report for 2017 states that there were an estimated 101 000 deaths related to TB in PLHIV in South Africa during 2016. This is substantially higher than the estimated 23 000 TB related deaths in HIV-negative individuals in the same year. With approximately 59 % of TB infections occurring in PLHIV in South Africa, it can be argued that HIV/AIDS is effectively driving the TB epidemic in the country,” Dr. De Jongh explains.
He adds that the WHO indicates that the risk of developing TB is between 16 and 27 times greater in PLHIV than those without HIV/AIDS.
He comments that Government and the private sector are increasing efforts to find solutions to the crisis. “This involves increasing knowledge about individuals’ HIV status in the country, as well as making sure that TB screening is done in HIV-positive men, women and children.”