“It has never been more urgent for governments, the medical and scientific communities, the private sector and people affected by the diseases to come together to ensure access to existing treatment regimens and to push for new diagnostic tools and treatments to reach all people in need,” a statement issued by UNAIDS on World TB Day said.
“We achieve the most when we work together and use all our strengths to reach ambitious goals,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé.
He added: “Harnessing the potential of everyone involved in the response to HIV and TB is needed now more than ever to end these epidemics and create a healthier world as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Globally, 9.6 million people fell ill with TB in 2014 and 1.5 million people died of the disease.
TB also remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for one in three AIDS-related deaths every year – around 390, 000 of 1.2 million AIDS-related deaths in 2014.
In addition, around 480, 000 people in 2014 developed multidrug-resistant TB. As with HIV, poorer communities and populations affected by stigma and discrimination are most vulnerable to infection.
The international community is committed to ending the epidemics of TB and HIV within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, the statement emphasized.
For example, the development of new diagnostic tools, treatments and potential vaccines against HIV and TB must be speeded up, especially in response to the emergence of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
Most importantly, these new regimens and tools must be within reach of everyone affected by TB and HIV.
Adopted in 2014, the World Health Organization’s END TB Strategy recognizes that ending the TB epidemic hinges on better policy-making at international, regional and national levels as well as stronger action to increase social protection, reduce poverty and tackle other determinants that increase people’s vulnerability to infection.
UNAIDS remains committed to working closely together with countries, donors, communities and partners, including the World Health Organization, the Stop TB Partnership and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to maximize the full power of communities everywhere to end the epidemics of TB and HIV
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and
inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank – and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.