First HIV/TB Global Leaders Forum
09 June 2008
The Global Leaders Forum is supported by
UNAIDS, the World Bank, WHO, the Global
Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and
Malaria and the Stop TB Partnership who
are the co-sponsors of the initiative.
The first HIV/TB Global Leaders' Forum will be held on 9 June 2008 at the United Nations in New York and will bring together heads of government, public health and business leaders, heads of UN agencies and activists.
The meeting, endorsed by the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, will be held on the eve of the UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on AIDS taking place 10-11 June 2008.
Speakers, who include UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot and WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan, will discuss the health, socio-economic and human security impacts of the TB and HIV joint epidemics and call for opportunities for bold leadership and col¬laboration to ensure an effective response to TB and HIV.
TB and HIV: a lethal combination
TB is the leading infectious killer of people living with HIV, and accounts for the deaths of an estimated a quarter of million people living with HIV each year AIDS. It is the number one cause of death among people living with HIV in Africa. Since most TB deaths are among adults of working age HIV/TB coinfection risks being a major constraint to economic development.
HIV and TB are so closely connected that they are often referred to as co-epidemics or dual epidemics that drive and reinforce one another: HIV activates dormant TB in a person, who then becomes infectious and able to spread the TB bacillus to others.
Recently new TB strains, extensively drug resistant TB (XDR TB), have emerged, which are particularly lethal as they are virtually untreatable using currently available anti-TB drugs. Greater investment in TB services, improved community case finding and adherence support, and more effective infection control are essential in preventing the development and spread of drug resistant TB.
In addition, the drugs, diagnostics and vaccines currently available are not appropriate for people with HIV/TB co-infection and so new tools are needed that work in the presence of coinfection.
The Global Leaders Forum is supported by UNAIDS, the World Bank, WHO, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Stop TB Partnership who are the co-sponsors of the initiative.
It is expected that the Forum, will produce a Call for Action to drastically cut the number of deaths associated with HIV/TB co-infection and the outcomes of the event will be reported to the UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS.