Recently, when it comes to tuberculosis, there has been no shortage of bad news. World Health Organization (WHO) announced in November that, once again, the disease has earned the dubious distinction of being the leading infectious killer of adults. And, now, in The Lancet HIV, Daria Podlekareva and colleagues show that almost one in every three people living with HIV in eastern Europe who is diagnosed with tuberculosis is dead within a year.
Although unsettling, there is nothing surprising about the results of this study. Once again, we are presented with evidence that two familiar stumbling blocks are killing people with tuberculosis at unprecedented rates: HIV co-infection and drug-resistant forms of the disease. The noxious synergy between tuberculosis and HIV has been well described, with many different solutions proposed for halting this mortality. However, this paper presents clear evidence that straightforward interventions—such as drug-susceptibility testing for tuberculosis and the prompt initiation of antiretroviral therapy in all patients with tuberculosis—are still not being implemented.
This research was supported by the UK Department for International Development’s Operational Research Capacity Building Programme led by the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union)
Jennifer Furin, Petros Isaakidis (2016) The tuberculosis emergency in eastern Europe. The Lancet HIV. 3. DOI 10.1016/S2352-3018(16)00002-3.
The tuberculosis emergency in eastern Europe